NGT asks Central Pollution Control Board to upgrade disposal facilities

September 14, 2016 05:42 pm | Updated November 01, 2016 06:28 pm IST - New Delhi:

The facilities were charged with violating the Minamata Convention on mercury as it couldn’t safely dispose of CFLs containing mercury

The National Green Tribunal has directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to consider upgradation of treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) in the country after a plea alleged that TSDFs were ill equipped to carry out environment-friendly disposal of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

The NGO, Toxic Links, contended before a bench headed by Justice U. D. Salvi that TSDFs were ill equipped to deal with “CFLs/Mercury bearing lamps” as per the Minamata Convention on mercury and there was a need to upgrade such facilities.

Minamata Convention on mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

Taking note of the plea, the NGT has asked the NGO to approach CPCB within a month for upgradation of TSDFs to handle mercury lamps and other allied products in an environment friendly manner.

“The representation made by the NGO shall be duly considered by the CPCB in light of the latest technical inputs and the present status of the CFL/mercury lamps and allied products and it shall take such decision as the facts and technical inputs so warrant in the environmental interest, particularly, in the manner in line with the Minamata Convention within next five months from the receipt of the said representation,” the bench, also comprising Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee, said.

The tribunal also directed the CPCB to upload the decision taken on the issue on its website and allowed the NGO to approach NGT in case of delay in taking decision.

Contamination concerns

The NGO had approached the green panel against unregulated and unrestricted disposal of CFL claiming that it was leading to contamination of environment and human health.

It had sought directions to frame standards of mercury content in CFLs in accordance with international norms.

The petition had alleged that by not following the strict standards for disposal of mercury in CFLs, it is increasing both environmental pollution and exposing public health to a very hazardous toxic, thus violating Article 48-A (Protection and improvement of environment) and 47 (duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health) of the Constitution.

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