NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a five-member expert Committee for preventing further discharge of chromium or other effluents at Jajmau or other such places in Ganga. The NGT said, “We find it necessary to constitute a five-member expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh with nominees of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and District Magistrates of Kanpur Dehat and Kanpur Nagar.” The tribunal said that the CPCB and the State PCB will be nodal agencies jointly and the committee may meet within two weeks and prepare a road map for remedial action. “The plan should result in remediation of dumpsites as well as preventing further discharge of chromium or other effluents at Jajmau or other such places in Ganga,” an NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said asking to file an action taken report of compliance status as on March 31 2022. The NGT said that the report shall be filed before the next date, April 26, 2022. The bench was hearing issues related to scientific disposal of Chromium dumps at Rania, Kanpur Dehat and Rakhi Mandi, Kanpur Nagar which have been in existence since 1976 and have inter-alia resulted in contamination of groundwater adversely affecting the health and depriving the inhabitants of access to drinking water. Another issue relates to continuing water pollution by tanneries discharging untreated industrial effluents, containing toxic Chromium into the irrigation canal through inadequately functioning CETP at Jajmau, Uttar Pradesh. The NGT had earlier found that though the chromium dumpsite is in existence since 1976, no meaningful remedial action has been taken by the State to tackle such hazardous waste which was affecting the environment adversely, particularly the groundwater and it has also been found that chromium contaminated effluent from tanneries are being discharged into river Ganga without proper treatment. The bench noted from the report of the CPCB and the Oversight Committee dated November 12, 2021, it is seen that issue of remediation of chromium dumpsite is still hanging fire. It is now reported that the actual volume of chromium waste is much higher than reported earlier. “As already observed, there does not seem to be adequate seriousness on the part of the authorities in handling the grim situation which has been in existence since 1976 and is adversely affecting the health of the citizens. Further, discharge of toxic chromium is taking place in Ganga due to non-compliant CETP and CCRP for which prompt action is required, to be monitored at the level of Chief Secretary,” the NGT said. “First imperative is to collect complete information on the number of wells contaminated as well as the locations where chromium dumps are existing in the form of a complete inventory. The next step is the firm action plan. At the same time remediation work pending for such a long time is a prompt need to protect the health of citizens. Not realizing the seriousness, the issue appears to be stuck in identifying the executing agency. Having regard to the seriousness of the matter, MoEF&CC needs to be involved for guidance and handholding, ” the NGT said.

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