NGT orders remediation steps for Kuzhikkandam creek

The heavily-polluted Kuzhikandam creek at Eloor.

The heavily-polluted Kuzhikandam creek at Eloor.  

Expenditure of committee to be borne by State Pollution Control Board

A five-member committee will soon prepare an action plan for remediation measures at Kuzhikkandam creek.

The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), headed by its chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, ordered the committee to “prepare an action plan for the remediation and in the first phase use the available funds, in a time-bound manner”.

The committee will have representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, and the District Magistrate as its members.

It was while considering the petitions of Shibu Manuel, secretary of Green Action Force, and K. Muhammed Iqbal of Jana Jagratha, Eloor, seeking a direction for zero discharge of industrial sludge into the Periyar and to clean Kuzhikkandamthodu, Panachithodu, Pallipuramchal and Unthithodu, the small streams meeting the river, that the tribunal passed the order.

Periyar pollution

The petitioners submitted that a few companies were operating factories close to the river and dumping hazardous waste into it, affecting aquatic life and people. There were also 247 chemical industries in the Eloor industrial belt, which were causing air pollution, they submitted.

The NGT ordered that the expenditure of the committee and the logistics be borne by the KSPCB. After using the available funds for the remediation works, the amount required for implementing the action plan would have to be recovered from the agencies polluting the Periyar. The CPCB or the KSPCB would exercise their statutory powers for recovery of the compensation for damage to the environment on ‘polluter-pays’ principle, it said.

According to the NGT directive, the committee would also be “entitled to undertake incidental work, including extensive survey and remediation of the entire affected river bodies/stretches”. The first meeting of the committee may be held within one month and the interim report of the progress achieved forwarded to the Tribunal within three months, it ordered.

The timeline for the action plan should be mentioned in the interim report. If there were other affected areas and more funds were required, the committee would be entitled to take up such work and an additional plan may be prepared by preparing an extra budget, it ordered.

The CPCB, said the Principal Bench, would be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance of the NGT order.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:19:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ngt-orders-remediation-steps-for-kuzhikkandam-creek/article26073317.ece

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