Pulling up the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for covering up its “inaction” by imposing penalties on other statutory bodies, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) this week directed it to close all dairy units that pollute air, water and soil in the national capital.
A four-member bench led by NGT chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel imposed a Rs 10-lakh penalty each on DPCC, South and North MCDs and forfeited their performance guarantees of an equal amount deposited in April.
They were ordered to “take necessary steps within three months for restoration of the environment”. The court was hearing a petition filed by animal rights activist and lawyer Nuggehalli Jayasimha. He alleged that these dairy units, overcrowded with cattle, cause foul air, water contamination and soil pollution.
“Milch animals kept in these dairies generate waste in the form of solids, liquids and gases. Untreated waste is dumped on surrounding land, mostly flushed with water, and finally discharged into the (Yamuna) river, leading to environmental pollution,” read the petition.
The NGT order also noted, “Livestock is a major source of methane emissions, and studies show that the problem in India is severe… Methane has a warming potential 20 times higher than carbon dioxide.”
The DPCC came under criticism for “avoiding its responsibility under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981”. Besides, the NGT directed the DPCC to desist from penalising local bodies and other agencies to “cover up” its failure.“Such authorities are not authorised to enforce water and air Acts,” said the order.
However, the civic bodies were asked to ensure compliance under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. Petitioner Jayasimha called the order “progressive”.