The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh to ensure compliance with solid waste management regulations and installation of the necessary wastewater management systems within the specified time frame.
The court also ordered the necessary measures to avoid contamination and ordered that the waste accumulated over the years in the seven urban local entities be treated without delay.
To facilitate compliance, the Chief Secretary stated that a limited amount of at least Rs 1,000 crore should be set aside for this purpose, and that the funds should be kept “non-expiring”.
The order directs that the legacy waste at the seven urban local bodies should be remediated without delay and quantified to confirm that no legacy waste remains.
“The Tribunal has directed the execution of restoration plans in all districts/cities/towns/villages without delay, with well-established monitoring mechanisms at state and district levels. District Magistrates will be responsible for monitoring sewage and solid waste management and providing monthly reports to the Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary will ensure overall compliance through regular meetings,” said the order.
The NGT stated that compensation was necessary under section 15 of the NGT Act in various states to address the ongoing harm to the environment and to comply with Supreme Court orders for this Tribunal to oversee the enforcement of regulations for solid and liquid waste management.
Safe maintenance and monitoring of legacy waste
The order states that legacy waste sites at the seven urban local agencies must be kept free of fire and other hazards until remediation is complete. The safety of the workers involved in this task must also be guaranteed.
The order recommends that such sites be fenced off with a row of trees or walls to prevent odors and improve safety and aesthetics, depending on feasibility. In addition, the provisions of Schedule I of the 2016 Solid Waste Management (SWM) Regulations must be strictly followed.
To ensure environmental safety, water quality near legacy landfills should be regularly monitored. If any contamination is found, appropriate corrective action should be taken.
The order also indicates that all environmental safety aspects related to legacy waste landfills must be complied with, as specified in Schedule I of the 2016 MSW Rules.
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