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In receipt of several photographs highlighting the grim situation of Uttarakhand, the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal at New Delhi has asked the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to verify the waste disposal situation as depicted in the photographs and placed the case along with other similar applications to be monitored under the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The grievance in Friends v Union of India is against dumping of waste, including solid waste, plastic, bio-medical waste, construction and demolition waste, hazardous waste and other obnoxious material in the State of Uttarakhand, especially in the hills and higher reaches of the State and the failure of the State Agencies in disposing of and effectively managing the same.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta informed the bench that the state witnesses a heavy footfall of tourists and their unrestricted dumping. “The garbage is thrown, gets accumulated and is then set on fire.” Resorts, restaurants and local population also generate incredible amounts of waste and the same “is causing tremendous and irreparable harm to the eco-fragile areas of Uttarakhand.” All this is posing a threat to glaciers which are the direct source of the country’s rivers and streams.

NGT in an interim order in the ongoing matter of Compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 O.A. No. 606/2018 dated 20.08.2018, has observed, “While coercive measures like prosecution and fixing accountability of the authorities for their failure is a different issue, the Tribunal considered it proper to have interaction with the stakeholders to evolve a mechanism for execution of orders already passed by the Tribunal particularly the order dated 22.12.2016.”

Uttarakhand has been said to produce 1406 tonnes of waste every day while processing none of it.

Since the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand is monitoring the waste disposal situation in O.A. No. 606/2018, the Principal Bench said, “let the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand have the facts verified from the concerned Departments, particularly the Forest and Irrigation Departments with reference to the photographs and furnish a report in the said matter.”

The Bench has listed the matter along with O.A. No. 606/2018.

— India Legal Bureau

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