The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has slapped a penalty of Rs 1.36 crore on five industrial units in Vapi over violation of environmental norms, according to an action taken report (ATR) submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on June 25.
In November 2019, officials from the GPCB visited the paper mills at GIDC Vapi to determine air pollution. According to the ATR, Vapi region has 32 paper industries that generate plastic waste. The Gujarat Paper Mills Association in Vapi, in association with paper industries, sends plastic waste for co-processing to cement industries. However, the GPCB inspection revealed that five industrial units were burning this waste in the open.
In an order in March 2019, the NGT had laid down the ratio of environmental damage compensation, prohibiting burning of waste on open lands, including at landfill sites. For each such incident or default, “violators, including the project proponent, concessionaire, ULB, any person or body responsible for such burning, shall be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 in case of simple burning and Rs 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning”, the NGT had said.
The NGT, in an order of October 2019, noted that burning of waste and scrap causes pollution in Vapi, Valsad, where the groundwater was mixed with chemicals. It also noted that paper mills were giving waste to scrap merchants and directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and GPCB to verify the complaints and submit an ATR.
While the joint committee found no burning of waste from the paper mills, it noted that plastic waste generated from paper industries and passed on to industrial units for disposal were burnt in the open. The five industrial units — Valson Polyester, Aarti Industries, Gujarat Polysol Chemical, Nitrex Chemical and Dakle Industrial Plastics — were found to have been violating the norms for over 100 days and Rs 1. 36 crore was imposed in environmental damage compensation.
Vapi GPCB regional officer BR Gajjar said, “Acting on the order of NGT, all the five industries have paid the penalty amount with our head office at Gandhinagar.”
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