The National Green Tribunal today imposed an environment compensation of Rs 10 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to take action on disposing e-waste from the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad. A bench, headed by Acting NGT Chairperson Justice U D Salvi, took exception over the state government’s inaction in the matter and observed that nothing has been done till date. The green panel also imposed an environment compensation on the Moradabad district magistrate. “UP has not placed any office order and nothing has been done till date to dispose the hazardaous e-waste lying on the banks of the river Ramganga. Therefore, we impose environment compensation of Rs 10 lakh on the state of Uttar Pradesh and Rs 50,000 on district magistrate of Moradabad,” it said.
The NGT directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to submit an action plan for entire Ramganga before February 21, the next date of hearing. The tribunal also noted the submission of the counsel for state pollution control board who said that there was no e-waste processing facility in the district and the waste was being illegally dumped on the banks of the river. During the hearing, advocate Gaurav Bansal appearing for the petitioner in the case, said that large number of people are involved in unscientific dismantling, crude chemical leaching of printed circuit boards, burning of wires/waste electrical and electronic components, grinding of residues and washing of metal rich residue on the banks of Ramganga.
Earlier, a committee comprising officials of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Moradabad Nagar Nigam, UP Public Works Department and the UP Rural Engineering Services, had told the tribunal in a report that the e-waste lying on the banks of the Ramganga river contains hazardous chemicals such as chromium and cadmium. The committee, formed by the NGT, had said that the concentration of metals in the e-waste, which was in the form of black powder, was above the prescribed level. The report was submitted on the directives of the tribunal. The tribunal had asked the district magistrate to hold a meeting and submit a detailed report on the issue.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey seeking action against illegal processing of electronic waste in Moradabad, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh along the Ramganga river, an important tributary of the Ganges. The green panel had announced that anyone found dumping electronic waste (e-waste) on the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad would have to pay Rs 1 lakh as environment compensation. The bench, which had noted that Ramganga was highly polluted, had also made it clear that the environment compensation would vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh depending on the quantum of the waste dumped. The river, which spans a length of 596 km, carries a BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) load of 128 tonnes per day and is polluted by heavy discharge from various industries such as sugar, distillery, pulp and paper, textile and dyeing, it had noted.