Country’s statutory body for the protection of environment has decided to shut down polluting industries across India within three months. NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to identify and act against industries in listed under ‘critically polluted’ and ‘severely polluted’ industrial areas.
Based on a joint NGT-CPCB study in 2009-10, industrial clusters in India were notified as Polluted Industrial Areas (PIAs). They were subsequently ranked as ‘critically polluted area’ (CPA), ‘severely polluted area’ (SPA) and ‘other polluted areas’ (OPAs), depending on their scores on the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index.
The NGT bench in its order remarked, “No further industrial activities or expansion be allowed with regard to ‘red’ and ‘orange’ category units till the said areas are brought within the prescribed parameters or till carrying capacity of area is assessed and new units or expansion is found viable having regard to the carrying capacity of the area and environmental norms.”
The panel clarified that non-polluting industries would not be affected by the order. The next hearing on the matter would take place on November 5 along with CPCB submitting a compliance report after three months by e-mail.
As per the order, CPCB would also be required to assess the quantum of compensation to be recovered from polluting units for the last five years. The amount will include the cost of restoration, cost of damage to public health and the environment, and deterrence. The scale of deterrence will depend on the period and frequency of defaults, as well as other factors.
A similar order by NGT earlier forced polluting leather tanneries in Kanpur to shut their operations, leading to employment and livelihood crisis among workers. Many of tannery owners were left with no option than to shift to other locations such as West Bengal.
Image Source: https://s.abcnews.com