Green tribunal bans dumping of debris on Yamuna banks

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued an order restraining all individuals, companies as well as public authorities from throwing any debris or solid waste on the Yamuna river bank or water bodies near it. It also ordered the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and their agencies to immediately start removing the debris and dumping it at appropriate sites.

"We hereby issue an injunction restraining anybody, any person, authority from throwing any debris of any kind including solid wastes on the river bank of Yamuna or the water body near the river. State of UP, DDA, Government of NCT Delhi and East Delhi Municipal Corporation shall forthwith start removing debris from the river bank of Yamuna and the water body," NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The green panel directed the authorities to communicate this order to all, "primarily the builders who are involved in huge construction in and around NCT of Delhi".

According to the order, all municipal solid wastes will have to be taken to the MCD's dumping site in Ghazipur while construction material and similar waste shall be removed to other identified sites.

"In the event no sites (for debris apart from municipal solid waste) have been identified by any authority, we hereby direct all the corporations and the DDA, states of UP and Delhi to notify within two weeks from today the sites for dumping of debris," it said while passing the order on a plea by environmentalist Manoj Mishra.

The tribunal said as a temporary measure, public authorities and UP government shall start removing debris and bring it to the end of the 'highest flood level' of the Yamuna and that "the stored debris shall be converted into a wall at that end-point".

"In our considered opinion, it would prevent unauthorised entry, flood and prevent pollution of river Yamuna. The lifting of debris shall start forthwith and all these authorities shall co-operate and work in tandem with each other to achieve the above object and ensure compliance," the tribunal said.

The NGT also gave liberty to authorities to make private parties cough up the money spent on removing debris thrown by them, in accordance with the principle of 'polluter pays'.

"All these authorities should exercise their statutory powers and not only prevent all persons throwing debris on the river bank but even require them to pay for the purposes of removal of debris which are thrown by them," it stated.

The tribunal has ordered the DDA vice-chairman to hold a meeting within one week after inviting all the authorities concerned and ensure complete implementation of the directions.

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