NGT slams Kerala govt over solid waste management

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New Delhi, Jan 26 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Kerala government over solid waste management, saying the administration is patently a failure in protecting citizens' right to clean environment.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel said there is no meaningful action for complying with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and handling of solid waste, in spite of repeated directions in the last two years.

The tribunal said as shown from the report by the state pollution control board, the samples clearly show that the parameters of environment are not being met.

“The municipal corporation is still continuing unauthorised operations. Work is yet to start for bio-mining. Compensation has been assessed but not recovered.

“The affidavit of the Chief Secretary does not show that any effective action has been taken on the ground. Thus, the situation is far from satisfactory. One wonders whether the officers dealing with the matter lack in competence...,” the bench said.

Failure to uphold environmental rule of law is no different from maintaining law and order and protecting the citizens against crimes, the bench said.

“Continuing violation of environmental norms is not only violation of rights of citizens, but also has potential for damage to the public health.

“It is unfortunate that in spite of several orders of this Tribunal for the last two years, the officers concerned have only paid lip service to the issue. There is thus clear governance deficit which needs to be urgently remedied at appropriate highest level in the state,” the bench said.

The NGT said there is failure to enforce environmental laws.

“We do hope that at least now prompt action will be taken in the matter failing which the Tribunal may have to adopt coercive measures as per law, including prosecution of Officers concerned.

“Least expected is placing of order for execution of legacy waste bio-mining, landscaping of the area and plantation, development of bio-diversity park, rectification of the compost plant, continuous monitoring by the Secretary, Urban Development and quarterly review by the Chief Secretary,” the bench said.

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 southern state.