NGT Slams Kerala Govt Over Waste Management, Says Serious Dereliction of Duty

File photo of National Green Tribunal.

File photo of National Green Tribunal.

The green panel said no coercive measures have been adopted as expected from the state pollution control board (SPCB) as a regulator.

The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Kerala government over failure to take "meaningful action" and serious dereliction of duties on solid waste management. The green panel said no coercive measures have been adopted as expected from the state pollution control board (SPCB) as a regulator.

It said the local bodies as well as the Urban Development Department have failed to take effective steps to manage waste and control pollution at Bharampuram Solid Waste Processing Plant on the outskirts of Kochi city in Kerala which is affecting environment and public health. There was no proper segregation of waste and there was a huge gap in waste collection and transfer for processing, it added.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel directed the Kerala Chief Secretary to take the matter seriously and take remedial action by constituting a 3-member team of Secretary, Urban Development Department; Chairman, State PCB and concerned Municipal Commissioner. It should not be difficult, if there is willingness, to tackle the problem. Failure of the State Authorities in this regard is at the cost of public health of the citizens which a welfare State can ill afford, the bench said.

The Chief Secretary, Kerala may personally monitor the compliance of these directions at least on monthly basis and record the proceedings, it said. The Chief Secretary may further direct that if the targeted actions are not taken, the erring officers will not be entitled to draw their salaries from a specified date till compliance, the tribunal said while directing him to file his personal affidavit on the issue.

The NGT recorded its disapproval for the lack of sincerity and sensitivity of the authorities to the health of the citizens on flimsy grounds. There is non compliance of orders of this Tribunal. Not even compensation has been recovered, as directed nor action taken against erring officers by way of entry in their ACRs, the bench said.

It is unfortunate that the State and its senior officers should not obey the law of the land, the NGT said. Earlier, a report was received from Justice A V Ramakrishna Pillai, former judge of the Kerala High Court, that unscientific dumping of waste in violation of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, causing huge pollution, was taking place at Bharampuram solid waste processing plant on the outskirts of Kochi city and a fire broke out there.

The tribunal's direction came while hearing a case seeking direction to take effective steps for infrastructure development for collection, storage, segregation and disposal of municipal solid waste in the state.

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