NGT asks CPCB to come up with SOP for eateries on highways

Following a plea alleging illegal dumping and burning of waste by restaurants on GT Road, Murthal, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board to finalise a standard operating procedure (SOP) for eateries along highways, within two months.

Referring to the existing policies regarding the same, a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “While the policy acknowledges serious environmental issues in the operation of restaurants and other such establishments on the roadside, particularly the generation and handling of waste and extraction of groundwater, the remedial action by way of the policy does not meet the mandate of the law.”

‘Polluter pays’

Stating that existing environmental norms cannot be diluted or relaxed by any authority, the Bench said, “The compensation regime has to be as per “polluter pays” principle which requires the compensation to be adequate to cover the cost of restoration of the environment and has to be deterrent.”

The Bench further took note of previous judgments and said, “Let the CPCB finalise an appropriate SOP integrating its guidelines already prepared and incorporating such of the provisions in the policy as are found appropriate so that the SOP prepared by CPCB will cover the entire field.”

“If no change is required in the guidelines already prepared by the CPCB, then it may continue,” the Bench added.

The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea moved by petitioner Abhay Dahiya seeking directions against illegal dumping and burning of garbage. The plea had also contended that untreated waste water was being discharged by eateries along the highway.