Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding EC granted for upgradation of ship recycling yard at Alang, Gujarat, 27/11/2020
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Conservation Action Trust & Others Vs Union of India & Others others dated 27/11/2020. The case was against grant of Environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance (EC) by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) vide letter dated November 2, 2016 for ‘upgradation of existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat for undertaking safe and environmentally sound ship recycling operations by M/s Gujarat Maritime Board’. According to the impugned EC, the existing yard stretches over a length of 10 km of coastline divided into 167 plots which have been leased to private entrepreneurs for ship recycling. It has the capacity to recycle 400 ships per year to recover 4 million tonnes per year of various materials which include over 99% steel.
Report of independent environment audit by CSIR-NIO under in pursuance to the NGT order of August 19, 2019 titled ‘Marine Environmental Monitoring and Verification for Compliance of CRZ Notification at Alang Ship Recycling Yard’ said that in general, the ecology of coastal water of Alang is seen similar to that of surrounding area of Bhavnagar and Dahej and it compares well with earlier studies of 2007-08 in Alang area. The adverse impact of ship breaking activities on water quality, sediment quality and biological characteristics was not significant except a certain intertidal region showing high concentration of Pile and some metals.
The NGT refused to interfere with the EC granted for upgradation of existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat. However, the project proponent has been directed to follow the recommendations in the report of the CSIR-NIO. Further, the MoEF&CC is directed to explore further steps for improvement of the environment and public health in the area based on the inputs from the domain experts for which the MoEF&CC may constitute a Committee of domain experts within one month which may give its report within six months.