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Deal with polluters firmly, NGT tells State

Tribunal finds water in State highly polluted and over-exploited

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to penalise violators of environmental laws and impose exemplary costs on those causing damage to the environment, including those indulging in illegal sand mining.

NGT Chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel, members Justice Ramakrishnan and Dr. Nagin Nanda met Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary L.V. Subramanyam in Delhi on Friday. It was part of a meeting NGT had been having with the representatives of different States to improve the implementation of environmental laws.

“The NGT has found water in Andhra Pradesh highly polluted and over-exploited. Vijayawada is a very highly polluted city and Visakhapatnam too is polluted,” Justice Goel said.

Chemical waste

The NGT pointed out to the Chief Secretary that pharma chemical waste was being discharged directly into the sea in Visakhapatnam. The need for a third party to check the quality of the effluents was emphasised. The Bench members made several suggestions for reduction of pollution.

Municipalities in the State were known to release sewage directly into rivers and water bodies. Sewage treatment plants should be set up in all civic bodies in 12 to 18 months.

The members suggested planning and capacity studies of industrial estates to reduce pollution.

The NGT made several harsh observations about the functioning of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board and suggested steps to strengthen the effectiveness of the board.

The members said pollution was tantamount to crime and people were either dying or falling ill, adding that violators must be booked. The Chief Secretary said the process of land acquisition for setting up sewage treatment plants would start soon.

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