PANAJI: Following a national media report on the number of identified polluted industrial clusters rising to 100 in seven years, based on evaluation of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) score, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently directed all the state pollution control boards (SPCBs) including Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) to finalise time-bound action plans to restore environmental quality.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson A K Goel has also asked the chief secretaries to constitute a committee to prepare and finalise action plans within three months with regard to identified polluted industrial clusters in accordance with the revised norms laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to restore environmental quality.
“The action plan to be prepared in the states may be done by the committee constituted by the chief secretary within one month as several departments may be involved in the exercise. The chief secretary will take meetings on all these issues once in three months (quarterly) and will forward the report to NGT by e-mail,” the tribunal has ordered.
The tribunal has made CPCB a nodal agency to look into the action plan, and steps taken for implementation so as to ensure that all the industrial clusters comply with laid down parameters as per the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention &Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
However, the final preparation of the action plan including its execution may be overseen by the chief secretary of the concerned state, along with the other connected major environmental issues of the states like pollution of river stretches, non-attainment cities in terms of air quality and solid waste management, utilisation of treated sewage.
In the meantime, CPCB has been asked to forward report on assessment of 100 identified polluted industrial cluster areas, carried out during 2017-2018 to the Union Ministry before February 28 for an appropriate action.
The court also demanded report on the action taken by the CPCB and MoEF&CC in the matter by e-mail before May 31, 2019.
Taking into consideration the concerns of sustainable development without compliance to environmental norms, the bench has said the industrial development invariably creates opportunities for improved living by removing poverty and unemployment, but in absence of monitoring as well adequate and effective pollution control methods industrialisation has led to environmental degradation on account of industrial pollution.
Noting that the toxic gas emissions occur as a result of highly polluting industries, the bench has said that the industry-specific clusters have not only become hazardous but also cause irreparable damage to our ecology and environment, often breaching the environment’s carrying capacity, adversely affecting public health.