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NGT comes down hard on Delhi Govt for inaction against plastic polluters

The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal in New Delhi has, in a batch of 8 cases, directed the Delhi Govt to deposit Rs. 25 crores with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), towards the cost of damage to the environment and furnish performance guarantee in the like amount with the CPCB.

The bench further asked the Delhi Govt to file a compliance report corroborating action taken against identified polluters. The bench took strong note of the act that out of 30,000 identified polluters, only 150 of them have been prosecuted till date. These polluters have been identified as being engaged in unauthorized industrial activities including unscientific handling of plastic and its illegal disposal including burning, etc. The state government has done little to assess the cost of environmental damage caused by such activities or enforce penalty and restraint on these polluters.

Chairperson of NGT, Shri Aditya Goel, in his order has stated,

“The amount to be recovered on ‘Polluter Pays’ has to commensurate with the damage caused and adequate to meet the cost of restoration and deterrent so that polluting activity does not remain profitable which admittedly has not happened. The identified polluters are said to be more than 30,000 while the alleged action is hardly against 150 vehicles. The action taken against identified polluters by way of prosecution and recovery of deterrent compensation is hardly adequate for meaningful enforcement of rule of law and protection of environment and public health. The Tribunal has repeatedly noted the inaction against polluters especially in the context of Delhi.”

While laying down the order as the last opportunity for Delhi Government, the bench has extended liberty to the applicants to furnish status of non-compliance to the Chief Secretary, Delhi within one week and the response thereto.

The Tribunal has directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi to remain present on the next date of hearing which is 5th August 2019.

– India Legal Bureau

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