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National Green Tribunal directs joint action from CPCB and DPCC on disposal of effluents in Yamuna river by dyeing factories

The National Green Tribunal has directed a joint action taken report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to mention consent status, compliance status with reference to disposal of effluents into drain and its quality, location of dyeing factories units in non-conforming area and proposed remedial actions within three months.

The Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Dr. A. Senthil Vel heard an application against operation of dyeing factories operating without the consent/NOC/permission in Bindapur, Matiala, Ranhola, Khyala, Meethapur, Badarpur, Mukundpur and Kirar, Delhi.

It is stated that more than 500 such factories are operating which discharge effluents in open areas, Nazafgarh drain or Swaroop Nagar Drain which goes and meet River Yamuna. They are also extracting groundwater illegally. There is no Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for treating the effluents. Testing of water quality in the area shows high pH, turbidity, bad odour, total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), chloride, nitrate, sulphuric acid, heavy metals and low dissolved oxygen (DO). Effluents are highly toxic, carcinogenic and hazardous to the health of the people residing nearby. Dangerous diseases like asthma, cerebrovascular diseases, lung diseases are significantly higher- 40 times higher, skin irritation and respiratory diseases. Out of the same, the applicant has named 21 units.

The applicant has further stated that he has filed representations dated 09.05.2022 and 22.08.2022 with the DPCC, on the basis of a media report highlighting the problem. The DPCC forwarded the complaint to Commissioner, MCD South but no action has been taken thereon. SDM, Patel Nagar also forwarded the complaint to MCD (West Zone) Shivaji Place, Raja Garden, New Delhi in continuation of earlier letters on the issue.

The Supreme Court in (2004) 6 SCC 588, M.C Mehta v. UoI & Ors. directing shifting/closing of industrial activities operating in violation of the Master Plan of Delhi. Monitoring mechanism was laid down therein as follows:-

“69 (8) We appoint a Monitoring Committee comprising: (i) Chief Secretary of Delhi, (ii) Commissioner of Police, Delhi, (iii) Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and (iv) ViceChairman of the Delhi Development Authority. This Committee would be responsible for stoppage of illegal industrial activity. It would, however, be open to the aforesaid members of the Monitoring Committee. to appoint responsible officers subordinate to them to oversee and ensure compliance with the directions contained in the judgment.”

The matter was also dealt with by the Tribunal by order dated 10.12.2020 in Satish Kumar v. UoI & Ors. and a group of matters about unauthorized operation of industrial units in residential areas or in compliance of environmental norms. The Tribunal noted that the Chief Secretary, Delhi was to head the Committee for enforcement of judgement of supreme Court. Accordingly, the Chief Secretary was required to be present before this Tribunal on 19.11.2019 and inadequacy of compliance was brought to his notice. Time bound action plan was directed to be prepared and executed. The Tribunal also considered a report of the DPCC to the effect that investigations of illegal units in non-performing areas were carried out. The Municipal Corporation also took a similar stand. The Tribunal finally disposed of the matter with following observations:-

“ 13. The matter having been monitored before this Tribunal for more than seven years, we do not find it necessary to keep the matter pending for indefinite period. It is for the statutory authorities to continue further steps for enforcement of environmental norms as per law. In view of order dated 20.3.2020, disposing of the final report of the OC headed by Justice Pratibha Rani, former Judge, Delhi High Court, further monitoring will be in terms of order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in M.C. Mehta (supra), by the Chief Secretary, Delhi.

  1. Accordingly, we close the proceedings with hope and expectation that the concerned authorities will take necessary steps for maintaining environmental norms. There has to be continuous vigil against causing of pollution, particularly burning of plastic and other waste for protection of environment and public health. The amount of compensation recovered must be properly utilized for legitimate purpose with the approval of the CPCB, as already directed. If there is any violation of environmental norms, the aggrieved party will be free to take remedies as per law, as and when necessary.”

In view of the above, the Tribunal directed that the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Supreme Court may look into the matter in coordination with other concerned authorities, including the CPCB and DPCC. A joint report of CPCB and DPCC may file an action taken report in the matter about compliance status in respect of units named in the application. The report may mention consent status, compliance status with reference to disposal of effluents into drain and its quality, location of these units in non-conforming area and proposed remedial actions within three months.

Matter is listed on 04.10.2023 for further consideration .

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