The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday announced that anyone found dumping electronic waste (e-waste) on the banks of river Ramganga in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh would have to pay Rs.1 lakh as environment compensation.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also constituted a committee of representatives of departments concerned to immediately remove the waste lying on the river bank and sought a detailed report within two weeks.
The committee would comprise member secretary of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) or his nominee, district magistrate of Moradabad, representative from UP government, Moradabad Nagar Nigam and Deputy Superintendent of Police of the area concerned.
"It has been brought to our notice that huge quantity of hazardous e-waste generated from various industries in powder form is being disposed on the bank of river Ramganga in Moradabad," the bench said, adding that this fact has been duly verified in the joint inspection conducted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
It further said that this hazardous waste is highly polluted and contains heavy metal which are injurious to human health and environment and noted that all authorities are escaping responsibility for disposal of waste and "shifting the blame on each other".
"We are of the considered view that it is the responsibility of the state government including the local police to take action and dispose of the hazardous waste as per Hazardous And Other Wastes Rules, 2016…
"All such industries which are found illegally dumping such e-waste shall be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs one lakh per incident," the bench said while ordering the sub-divisional magistrate of the area concerned to recover the money from defaulters.
The bench also made it clear that the environment compensation would vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh depending on the quantum of waste dumped in the river.
The tribunal's order came during the hearing of a case related to cleaning of river Ganga when the UPPCB counsel sought direction from it with regard to proper disposal of e- waste.
The counsel told the bench that district administration has turned a blind eye to such incidents and they have not taken any action against the violators.
The bench noted that Ramganga, a tributary of river Ganga, is highly polluted.
The river, which spans a length of 596 kms, carries a BOD load (Biochemical oxygen demand) of 128 tonnes per day and is polluted by heavy discharge from various industries like – sugar, distillery, pulp and paper, textile and dying, it noted.
The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river in different segments – Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao(termed as segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to UP border, UP border to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
The tribunal had on February 23 directed inspection of Ganga flood plains to probe dumping and burning of waste after a plea alleged illegal processing of electronic waste on the banks of Ramganga in western UP.