Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding solid and liquid waste management in India, 18/05/2023

Concerned ministries of the central government were directed by the NGT to file their respective action taken reports in the matter of solid and liquid waste management within three months.

When it comes to the issue of solid waste management, the matter has been monitored from 1996 to 2014 by the Supreme Court and by the NGT for the last nine years. There are statutory rules and policies like Swachh Bharat but action on the ground is inadequate, the court said. Enacting laws and directions of courts and tribunals are not a substitute for good governance and unless the administration accords high priority to the subject, undesirable situations may not be remedied.

Similarly, not preventing sewage discharge into the sources of drinking water is an offence under the criminal law as well as under the Water Act, 1974. Water quality of a large number of rivers (including Ganga and Yamuna), lakes, coastal areas and other water bodies are receiving such pollution.

This needs to be addressed on war footing, using indigenous technology wherever viable or such other technology but no drop of sewage can be allowed to be mixed in drinking water. Timelines are deviated without accountability, said the NGT, May 18.

The scope of present order was to compile and collate the background, data filed by the Chief Secretaries of all the States/UTs and analysis and directions of the Tribunal on the subject of waste management in the country for further follow up action.