Waste mgmt: NGT says high priority, strict monitoring way forward

NEW DELHI, 21 May: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has concluded its proceedings on the issue of solid and liquid waste management by all states and union territories, and said the way forward is to provide high priority to the subject and carry out strict monitoring.
The NGT said that the scope of the present order is to compile and collate the background of waste management in the country along with data filed by the chief secretaries of all the states and union territories, besides analysis and directions for further follow-up action.
A bench headed by chairperson Justice AK Goel said, “Since the tribunal has directed the chief secretaries of all the states/UTs to file further progress reports every six months to be taken up by the tribunal for further consideration, if necessary, the proceedings stand concluded for the time being, subject to compliance being further monitored, if necessary.”
“The way forward has to be in according high priority to the subject and strict monitoring and higher levels of the administration in the states as well as in central government by constituting specialised monitoring cells fixing accountability for deviation from laid down timelines,” the bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, added.
The bench said that the issue of solid waste management was monitored from 1996 to 2014 by the Supreme Court and the NGT and, although statutory rules and policies were present, action on the ground was inadequate.
“There are mountains of garbage generating methane and other gases which are a source of diseases and deaths. Our conclusion is that enacting laws and directions of courts/tribunals are no substitute for good governance and unless the administration accords high priority of the subject, undesirable situations as found may not be remedied,” it said.
The bench also said that taking people on board and change of mindset are the need of the hour.
Regarding liquid waste management, the bench said that the discharge of sewage into drains, rivers and water bodies results in scarcity of drinking water for all living beings, apart from the degradation of the environment and damage to public health.
It said there is no justification for the delay in remedial action having regard to adverse impact on biodiversity and citizens’ right of access to drinking water.
“We hope that the ministries (concerned) of the central government will perform their statutory obligation under the rules, apart from monitoring compliance by the concerned states/UTs,” the bench said. (PTI)