NGT panel to study river pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted an expert committee, headed by an IIT-Mumbai faculty , to inspect the extent and specific causes of pollution in Mula, Mutha rivers from sources of discharge of untreated sewage in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas.

The objective is to have acceptable scientific material and data on the pollution of the river and connected irrigation canal, the tribunal said, while raising concern over the “casual statements“ made by authorities, including the PCMC, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the irrigation department. The committee has to file its report by September 1when the matter is posted for the next hearing.

The bench of Justice Jawad Rahim and member Ajay A Deshpande was responding to a plea by the Shewalewadi gram panchayat sarpanch and others highlighting the severe environmental damage caused and danger to the health and survival of the local population due to release of untreated sewage into the two rivers.“The concerns raised by the applicants are serious in nature,“ the bench said.

A PCMC additional municipal commissioner will be the nodal officer for executing the tribunal’s order while the PMC and PCMC have been directed to provide all necessary assistance and logistic support to the expert panel. The MPCB has been directed to provide technical assistance in the matter. The IIT faculty to lead the panel will be at liberty to take assistance of other experts, as heshe may require, the bench ordered.

The tribunal had earlier sought affidavits and responses from the PMC, PCMC, MPCB, irrigation departments and other respondents named in the application. “There is material on record from which it is evident that untreated sewage from various sources in territorial jurisdiction of PMC and PCMC is being released into Mula-Mutha river and irrigation canal,“ it said.

Referring to the affidavits and responses by the respondents, the tribunal observed: “Respondent no 2 (PCMC) has filed a statement, stating that except two villages other areas are covered with drainage system and also grey water is being released. There are also several statements, which prima facie indicate, are not supported by any acceptable scientific material or any data which could be verified.“

The bench further said: “It is observed from the affidavit of MPCB that cause and effect claimed by the applicants have not been addressed on technical grounds. The irrigation department’s reply is cryptic and does not disclose any material fact. We are, therefore, disturbed by the casual statements made.“

“Considering imminent danger as consequence of lapses on part of these authorities in releasing untreated sewage into the canal, it is essential that we get an independent report from the (expert) committee, which shall indicate and record fact-finding,“ the bench said while constituting the panel.

The bench had directed PMC commissioner on May 27 to stop pumping of untreated sewage into Mula-Mutha river and its tributaries unless the same was treated to the required standards through the method provided. The tribunal then observed that it was at loss to understand the PMC’s stand that the civic body’s responsibility was only to supply water and it gives water to the agriculture fields that can not be hampered.

Source : TOI

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PMC plans a plant at Wagholi to rid debris

full_01_01_2016_002_020_008Mounting garbage, including construction debris, on city streets and the riverbed and the state government’s delay in providing land for waste management has prompted the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to clean up its own mess. Now, a two-acre plot of barren land at Wagholi has been identified by the civic body to set up a debris processing plant, which will be the second such establishment in the country after Delhi.

Elaborating on the PMC’s plan of action on Wednesday, municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar said, “The district administration has allotted land to set up a debris processing plant, work for which will begin soon. At present, there is only one such plant located in Delhi. Right now, there is no system in place to sort out the debris problem and people are dumping it on the riverside or in open areas. We have already made a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and will float a tender in January.“

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste is piling up by the day with burgeoning real estate projects across the city and its outskirts. According to the study, the construction industry in India generates about 10-12 million tonnes of C&D waste annually, whereas Pune city alone is responsible for almost 125 tonnes of daily C&D debris. The PMC has placed a ban on dumping debris at open spaces, the riverbed, nulluhs and quarries, charging a fine of Rs 25,000 for violations. To escape action, people dump their debris into the river at night.Besides that, the civic body carries out dem olition drives on unauthorised constructions within the city limits as well. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have also undertaken development work within the city, producing almost 1500 tonnes of debris within the corporation limits.

Rohot Gera, vice-president of The Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) said, “We welcome the PMC’s move to set up a debris processing plant. It is a major issue in the real estate sector. We try to recycle the maximum amount of debris, but that’s not possible all the time. So, we ask contractors to dispose of the waste. But, there is no specific area of disposal. Sometimes, he places the debris in a prohibited area and is fined.When this happens, the builder is always hauled up and every one puts the blame on him. No builder tells a contractor to dump debris in a particular area. It is completely the contractor’s responsibility where to dump it. This initiative will provide a designated place for disposal.“

As of now, most of crusher activities have begun for the plant at Wagholi. After floating the tender, PMC has set a time limit of six months for the plant’s installation.This plant will recycle construction material, which can be used for brick production. It will segregate cement, bricks, tar and other material and reprocess it through modern machinery. The Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) is a pioneer for such a plant set up to process construction and demolition waste.

The DMC had set up a recycling plant of C&D waste in 2010, during the Commonwealth Games. The IL&FS Environment Infrastructure Services Limited (IEISL) set up a 500 TPD capacity processing plant in Delhi on the public private partnership model, to manage C&D waste and collected and transported approximately 2, 00,000 tonnes of C&D waste from the streets of Delhi during the games.