Ganga rejuvenation: NGT bans plastic from Gomukh to Haridwar
New Delhi, Dec 10: There will be a complete ban on use of plastic of any kind from Gomukh to Haridwar along Ganga with effect from February 1, the National Green Tribunal directed on Thursday, Dec 10 while slapping a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day on erring hotels, dharamshalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.
The Tribunal passed a slew of directions to keep the river pollution free. It held that if any hotel, dharamshala or ashram releases their domestic waste and sewage into Ganga or its tributaries then "it shall be liable to pay environmental compensation for causing pollution of the river at the rate of Rs 5,000 per day".
The green panel divided the cleaning work of Ganga into different segments --Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
Besides the plastic ban, the Tribunal also prohibited throwing of any municipal waste, construction and demolition wastes into Ganga and its tributaries while announcing that violators will have to pay an environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per incident.
"There shall be complete prohibition on use of plastic i.e plastic carry bags/plastic plates, glasses, spoons, packages and allied items in all cities/towns falling on the river Ganga and its tributaries in Segment A Phase -1 (Gomukh to Haridwar). "
Under no circumstances, plastic carry bags of any thickness whatsoever would be permitted. The procurement, storing and sale of such plastic bags, plates, glasses, spoons etc are hereby prohibited, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said adding,"these restrictions would become operative with effect from February 1, 2016."
The Tribunal, which did not pass any order with regard to nine hydro-power projects in Uttarakhand as the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, said that all the projects would build their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) and make them operational within three months.
The green bench further held that all the seriously polluting industries which are operating without consent from Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board shall be closed with immediate effect.
On the issue of mining on the river bed, the Tribunal said it shall be carried on in a highly regulated manner and under strict supervision. "No mechanised river bed mining would be permitted. No JCBs (mechanical excavator) would be permitted to operate on the river bed," it said.