The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to take stringent action against industries along Ulhas river that continue to discharge industrial effluent beyond admissible limits. “There are large number of industries which still are found not complying with the standards and MPCB assures that immediate action will be initiated against the defaulting industries and the report on the action taken will be submitted within a period of six weeks,” said the order.
The permissible level of pollutants in the discharge of industries is limited to 2200 mg/l Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) before reaching the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), and the permissible limits for treated effluent reaching the Ulhas river is 250 mg/l COD. However, the affidavit filed by the MPCB has found that several industries are not complying with these standards.
The tribunal, comprising Justice V R Kingaonkar and expert member Ajay Deshpande, was hearing an application by NGO Vanashakti which alleged that industries were severely polluting the Ulhas river and sought a clean-up of the river.
Even the CETP performance was “not up to the mark” during the last six months, MPCB officials stated. Consequently, the MPCB has issued a direction to Dombivali Better Environment System Association (DBESA) and has forfeited the bank guarantee of the Dombivali Common Effluent Treatment Plant.
Moreover, the board found two industries generating excess effluent by utilising excess water from tankers and assured the tribunal that “appropriate action” will be taken against the units. The MPCB undertook the inspection only after the tribunals order, based on a complaint from petitioner NGO Vanashakti. Meanwhile, the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) has commenced the tendering process for contract to clean up the Ulhas river.