Today's Paper

Hefty fine on dumping waste in Yamuna

An article titled “And quiet flows the Maili Yamuna” inspired a court case in 1994 focussing on preventing pollution in the river. Crores of rupees were flushed in the name of resurrecting the river with no effect.

On Tuesday, the National Green Tribunal came out with its Restoration Plan for Yamuna to make it ‘Nirmal’ from ‘Maili’ by 2017 as it titled its judgment “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan 2017”.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar imposed hefty fines on dumping any waste -- be it religious, construction or any other material -- in the Yamuna. The Bench also banned any construction on the floodplains by government agencies or the fast spreading real estate sector.

It imposed a spot fine of Rs 5,000 on dumping religious and other waste. However, those dumping debris and construction waste would have to pay Rs 50,000 on the basis of Polluter Pays Principle.

The NGT also directed that all construction on Yamuna floodplains in Delhi be reviewed.

Putting to rest the debate on the level of floodplains, the Tribunal said the area occupied by the river at least once in 25 years would be acknowledged to be Yamuna's floodplains. Globally, it is the area occupied by rivers once in 100 years.

The Tribunal formed a monitoring committee of environmental secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It will be headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

It would submit a quarterly report to the NGT and if any agency concerned is found lacking, its senior-most officer would be held responsible.

With regard to industrial pollution, the NGT directed that all industrial units must have a fully functional effluent treatment plant. This is besides the 33 decentralised Sewage Treatment Plants to be put in place across the city as suggested by an expert committee constituted by the Tribunal.

The recommendations of the committee have been accepted by the NGT.

Adjoining cities like Panipat and Sonipat have been directed to become zero-discharge to ensure optimum flow of water in the 54-km stretch of the Yamuna passing through the NCT-Delhi.

The judgment comes on a petition filed by environment activist Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. He had sought action against untreated sewage and dumping of solid waste into Yamuna.

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