The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday announced that an environment compensation of Rs 1 lakh would be charged on people found dumping hazardous electronic waste (e-waste) on the banks of River Ramganga in Uttar Pradesh's district.
A committee, consisting of representatives of departments concerned with the immediate removal of waste lying on the banks of the river, was set up by the NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The bench has sought a detailed report on the matter within two weeks.
The committee would consist of member secretary of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) or his nominee, district magistrate of Moradabad, representative from UP government, Moradabad Nagar Nigam and Deputy Superintendent of Police of the area concerned, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
"It has been brought to our notice that huge quantity of hazardous e-waste generated from various industries in powder form is being disposed on the bank of river Ramganga in Moradabad," the bench said, adding that a joint inspection conducted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had verified this fact.
The NGT had in February instructed that the Ganga floodplains be inspected and that the dumping and burning of waste be probed. The direction came after a plea alleging illegal processing of electronic waste on the banks of the river in western UP.
The bench also said that this 'hazardous e-waste' is extremely polluted and consists of heavy metal making it injurious to the health of human beings as well as to the environment. It added that all authorities were trying to run away from their responsibilities towards the disposal of this waste and that they were 'shifting the blame on each other.'
"We are of the considered view that it is the responsibility of the state government including the local police to take action and dispose of the hazardous waste as per Hazardous And Other Wastes Rules, 2016... All such industries which are found illegally dumping such e-waste shall be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 1 lakh per incident," the bench said.
It also instructed the sub-divisional magistrate of the area concerned to recover the money from defaulters.
The bench also said that the environment compensation for those who dump waste on the banks of the river would vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the quantity of waste dumped in River Ramganga, which is a tributary of the Ganga River.
The NGT was hearing a case related to the cleaning of River Ganga when the lawyer representing the UPPCB sought direction from the tribunal on the proper disposal of the e-waste on the river banks. The lawyer also said that the district administration had been ignoring such incidents and had not taken any action against violators, PTI reported.
River Ramganga carries a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load of 128 tonnes each day and has become extremely polluted due to heavy discharge of chemicals from several industries, including sugar, distillery, pulp and paper, textile and dying.