NGT gives polluting industries 3 months to comply with regulations

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to shut down polluting industries in “critically polluted” and “severely polluted” areas within three months, asserting that economic development cannot be at the cost of public health. 

The direction is on the basis of a study jointly carried out by the CPCB and the state pollution control boards in 2009-10, which notified Polluted Industrial Areas and ranked these areas as ‘critically polluted areas’, ‘severely polluted areas’ and ‘other polluted areas’, depending on their respective Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index scores.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the CPCB to assess, in coordination with the state pollution control boards, the quantum of compensation to be recovered from polluting units for the last five years, taking into account the cost of restoration and the cost of damage to public health and environment and the deterrence element. 
“The scale of deterrence may be related to the period and the frequency of defaults. Such other factors as may be found relevant may also be taken into account,” the bench said.
“No further industrial activities or expansion will be allowed with regard to ‘red’ and ‘orange’ category units till the said areas are brought within the prescribed parameters, or till the carrying capacity of area is assessed and new units or expansion is found viable having regard to the carrying capacity of the area and environmental norms,” it added.
The tribunal, however, made it clear that white and green or non-polluting industries, which are not causing any pollution, will not be affected by its order.
It directed the CPCB to take the assistance of experts to compile information with regard to polluted industrial areas based on water and air pollution norms and notify such information on public domain.
The NGT had sought compliance with its directive within three months and asked the CPCB to file a report on the compliance after three months by e-mail. The NGT also posted the matter for hearing on 5 November.
The tribunal also directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take steps for enforcement of action plan for improvement of the situation.
Earlier, on 11 July, the tribunal asked a joint committee comprising representatives of Central Pollution Control Board, UPPCB and Ghaziabad district magistrate to submit a factual and action-taken report on the allegations that industries were causing pollution in Ghaziabad.
The accused are DP Panchal & Co, Magnum Ventures Ltd, Careyel Medical Systems Pvt Ltd, P Ent Labels, Skilltron and Krbi Ltd. They allegedly spewed chemicals like pesticides, chlorinated solvents, petroleum chemicals, mercury PCBs, dioxins and other persisting organic pollutants polluting the environment and causing health hazards.