Indian Railways to take step towards cleanliness and hygiene as NGT mandates green laws for stations; details

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Published: December 16, 2019 1:24:14 PM

The Environment Act's objective is to control air pollution and if due to the activities at railway stations, pollutants are emitted in the atmosphere, they cannot be excluded from such a definition so as to avoid remedial measures, the tribunal said.

railwaysThe team consisting of CPCB and concerned state pollution control board will review the performance of major stations.

All stations across the Indian Railways network are required to obtain necessary environmental permissions. The announcement was made by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) as several polluting activities take place there, according to a PTI report. Directing the national transporter to consider the suggestions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on implementing the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, as well as the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the NGT, asked Indian Railways to implement action plans for making stations across the country clean. As per the report, the team consisting of CPCB and concerned state pollution control board will review the performance of major stations in terms of implementation of action plans along with compliance to the provisions of the Air Act, Water Act as well as Environmental Protection Act.

The Environment Act’s objective is to control air pollution and if due to the activities at railway stations, pollutants are emitted in the atmosphere, they cannot be excluded from such a definition so as to avoid remedial measures, the tribunal said. According to the bench, the rules under this Act include plastic waste, solid waste, construction and debris waste, bio-medical waste, hazardous waste, e-waste rules. Also, many other activities take place at major stations which may attract provisions of the rules. Thus, these rules have to be complied by all the major stations across the country, to the extent applicable.

According to the report, major stations ‘prima facie’ can’t be excluded from the ambit of the Air Act and the Water Act. Thus, it is clear that wherever there is a significant generation of solid and liquid waste as well as gaseous emissions, the Air Act and the Water Act has to be exercised. It further stated that there is every reason to presume that major stations across India are discharging liquid waste water, generating solid waste and also, releasing gaseous emissions unless shown to the contrary.

According to the report, the bench was told by the CPCB that five out of 36 stations- Vadodara, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Mysuru, and Vishakhapatnam stations are in the “Good” category and also, they have achieved ISO 14001 certification. However, the fact that none of the railway stations has obtained consents under the Water Act, the Air Act and authorization under Hazardous Waste Rules 2016, none of these stations can be certified “Eco Smart”. Earlier, Indian Railways was directed by the tribunal to identify as well as develop at least 36 railway stations as ‘eco-smart stations.

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