New Delhi, Dec 28: A halt on diesel vehicles in Delhi and cracking its whip with a slew of directions for restoring the pristine glory of the Ganga reflected the activist mode of National Green Tribunal which in 2015 got global attention in its endeavour for pollution-free environment.
The tribunal, which has been a busy hub of environmental issues, ranging from challenges to clearance granted to projects of big industries to protection of eco-sensitive areas like Rohtang Pass and Kaziranga National Park, achieved a feat of pronouncing 56 judgments in a single day on December 10 by settling 209 cases.
Barely five years into existence, the NGT's pro-active role was noticed by international media which praised its speedy redressal of pollution issues as an elated Chairman Swatanter Kumar stated that the green panel disposed of 82 per cent pending cases in 2014.
The extraordinary situations arising due to extreme environmental degradation demanded extraordinary measures and some of the tribunal's decisions like the ban on registration of new diesel-run vehicles in the national capital created controversy, confusion and hogged the limelight.
However, the NGT had the last laugh as the Supreme Court later put the stamp of approval on the steps taken by it to bring the pollution level down in the capital which has achieved a dubious distinction of world's most polluted city.
The tribunal also lived up to the expectation and trust bestowed on it by the apex court while delegating the panel with the issue of Ganga and it acted tough against the polluting industries by ordering their closure.
The green panel, which unveiled its plan to clean Ganga from Gomukh to Bay of Bengal, imposed complete ban on plastic from Gomukh to Haridwar and announced that if any hotel, dharamshala or ashram release waste into the river, it will have to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 per day.
Rafting and camping activities in Uttarakhand also came under the scanner of NGT which banned camping activity in the entire belt of Kaudiyala to Rishikesh on the banks of Ganga till the regulatory regime comes into force but allowed the adventure sport rafting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clean Ganga project also got a boost when NGT directed tanneries situated in Kanpur along the river to strictly comply with mandatory pollution norms and warned them of closure.