The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the environment department to investigate sources of pollution in Mahul village in Chembur, and treat the application filed by residents of Mahul and Ambapada villages against Sealord Containers and Aegis Chemicals for allegedly causing pollution, as a complaint. The tribunal further warned that if the problem of air pollution is not solved within six months, they would take “stern action” and order the industries which handle hazardous material or generate air pollution to re-locate.
The tribunal was hearing the application filed by residents, who had approached NGT this April. The tribunal had, in September, named the units of BPCL Ltd, HPCL Ltd, Tata Power Ltd, Natural Oil Blending Ltd (NOBL), Chemical Terminal Trombay Ltd. (CTIL) and RCF Ltd. in Mahul area as respondents in the case for “generating particulate material and having stack or process emission”. This move came after a report by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in August had pointed fingers at these companies, which are located in the vicinity of Sealord Containers and Aegis Chemicals, as well.
In its order, the tribunal bench stated that if any particular source is identified, then necessary orders under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, or under the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, shall be passed without delay, despite the matter being subjudice.
“There can be no denial to the fact that the inhabitants of Mahul area, are suffering from air pollution, notwithstanding the fact that the contribution of individual respondents are yet to be identified,” the order stated. The NGT observed that the residents’ allegation, that Sealord Containers and Aegis Chemicals are the culprits behind pollution, is “yet to be prima facie verified”.
“We are a liquid storage facility. We do not manufacture or process any product. We have a system where all our products are transported via pipelines, with no exposure to environment, so there is no question of us causing pollution. We have always complied with MPCB’s norms,” said Rajiv Chouhan, group president, business development, Sealord Container pvt ltd.
The next date of hearing is November 11.