The Centre has assured the National Green Tribunal that it would examine the grievances raised by a nature enthusiast against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living’s (AOL) plan to release enzymes to clean the polluted rivers of western Uttar Pradesh. The rivers under the scheme are Krishna and Kali, which originate in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar respectively, flow in to Shamli district before merging with the Hindon that finally meets Yamuna at Greater Noida.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) told the tribunal that it would look into the complaint of petitioner Anand Arya who has referred to news reports in which AOL has announced it would release enzymes or “foreign elements” in the rivers after the Uttar Pradesh Elections. A bench headed by NGT Chaiperson Justice Swatanter Kumar noted the submissions of the MoEF and disposed of the petition.
“Counsel appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change submits that they would examine the grievance raised by the applicant in accordance with law. In view of the statement made, this application does not survive and is accordingly disposed of,” the bench said.
“This proposed activity would be in blatant violation of the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, since it is, basically, introducing foreign elements into the river, without any scientific study or information,” the activist said in his plea. Arya, in his plea filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, has also raised questions with respect to the release of the enzymes and asked whether these “foreign elements” have approval from the central or state pollution control boards.
“There is no approval available from any of the concerned Authorities, particularly from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment and Forests or any state pollution control boards.
“Until certified as safe, these enzymes remain nothing but possibly a fermented shape of kitchen waste combined with jaggery and water and cannot be called anything other than pollutants,” the Noida-based environmentalist said in his plea.