Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance of contamination of rivers
It is the duty of the State to guarantee access to clean drinking water, it states.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of the contamination of rivers by sewage effluents through lapses devoted by municipalities, stating “open surface area water resources including rivers are the lifeline of human civilisation”.
” Deterioration of quality of fresh water has a direct co-relation with the quality of public health … The right to tidy environment, and further, pollution-free water, has actually been secured under the broad rubric of the right to life,” a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde stated.
The Bench was hearing an immediate petition filed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), represented by advocate Shadan Farasat, to “immediately stop” Haryana from discharging toxins into the Yamuna river, which is triggering a disconcerting boost in ammonia levels in the water. The Board said the increased ammonia levels have actually hindered its water treatment plants and a drinking water crisis looms large in Delhi.
” Ammonia and chlorine will cause cancer. We can not release water to the residents,” senior supporter Meenakshi Arora, arguing counsel for the DJB, submitted.
The petition set off the court to step in to protect rivers in similar hazard as the Yamuna.
Numerous actions sought
The court directed the registration of a PIL entitled “Remediation of polluted rivers” and provided notice to the Centre, the Ministries of Environment and Real Estate and Urban Affairs and the Central Contamination Control Board (CPCB).
It also looked for reaction from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
” It is the responsibility of the State to ensure access to tidy drinking water which is included in right to life … The mandate of law is clear as far as setting up of Sewage Treatment Plants and stoppage of sewage effluents in surface water are concerned, however it is often discovered that either the sewage is not treated through a plant before being released or the treatment plants are not practical,” the seven-page order stated.
The court decided to turn its attention initially on the Yamuna.
Instructions to CPCB
It directed the CPCB to submit a report recognizing towns along the river which have actually not set up total treatment plants for sewage as per the requirement or have spaces in ensuring that the sewage is not released unattended into the river.
The CPCB was ordered to highlight any other source of popular contamination within the limits of the towns. It asked the CPCB to send a priority-wise list of municipalities where river stretches were most contaminated.
The Bench designated Ms. Arora amicus curiae and arranged the next hearing on January 19.
The DJB petition stated the nationwide capital’s troubles have been worsened with Haryana not launching the complete quantity of water Delhi is entitled to at Wazirabad. Only 330 cusecs have been launched instead of launching a minimum of 450 cusecs downstream.
” Due to lower water being released, the concentration of ammonia in the water reaching Delhi has increased. The actions/inactions constitute an offense of the principle of co-operative federalism. It amounts to an upper riparian State taking unnecessary advantage of a shared river for watering and commercial purposes while effectively not permitting a lower riparian State to access water for drinking,” the petition stated.
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