The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday recommended a slew of measures to clean up the Ganges, including a fine of Rs 50,000 for dumping waste in the Haridwar-Unnao stretch of the river, ANI reported.
These directions from the green tribunal come about a week after a Supreme Court blow to envionemntalists, after the court stayed an Uttarakhand High Court order declaring the Ganga and Yamuna rivers “living entities”.
On Thursday, a bench of the NGT, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, directed authorities to impose the Rs 50,000-for-dumping penalty.
It also recommended that waste dumping not be allowed within 500 metres from the edge of the Ganga on the Haridwar-Unnao stretch. In addition, it said the area within 100 metres from the edge of the Ganges, on the same stretch, be declared a ‘no-development zone’ .
Turning toward state responsibilities, the environmental protection watchdog directed the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to formulate guidelines for any religious activities on the ghats of the Ganga or its tributaries.
The green tribunal then said Uttar Pradesh should be “duty-bound” to shift tanneries from Jajmau to Unnao, or to any other place it considers appropriate, within six weeks, PTI reported.
In April, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had favoured moving the British-era tanneries to Kanpur, PTI reported. The UP government had told the NGT that the hunt for a new site for these leather units, which are the “major source of pollution” in Ganga, was under consideration and would be identified soon.
The NGT issued tannery-specific directions on Wednesday as well. It directed the tannery clusters located at Banther and Unnao, on the banks of the Ganga, to install chromium recovery plants within four weeks, so they do not discharge any effluent into the drains pouring into the river.