Highlights

National Green Tribunal has directed all states and UT to designate a nodal agency to take adequate steps for protection of water bodies.

Points To Note

  • National Green Tribunal has directed the states and union territories that the designated nodal agency may hold its meeting under the guidance of chief secretaries of states and union territories.
  • National Green Tribunal further directs that the meeting must not be held later than 31 January, 2021.
  • It holds that the meeting must be held on time to take stock of the situation and plan further.
  • National Green Tribunal also asked the central monitoring committee to monitor the steps taken for restoration of water bodies by all states at least thrice in a year. The central monitoring committee was formed to monitor the remediation of 351 polluted river stretches.

Polluted river stretches in India

The CPCB of India has identified 351 polluted river stretches on 323 rivers during 2018. According to Central Pollution Control Board, these river stretches are located in the states of Assam, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The river stretches in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are less polluted than these 3 states.

In spite of Clean Ganga Mission of the Government of India, several stretches of the mighty Ganges are still polluted. The Biological Oxygen Demand in the stretches of Ganges are in the range of 3.5 to 8.8 milligram per litre. And therefore, Ganges is still put under priority four river category.

Biological Oxygen Demand

It is the amount of dissolved oxygen required to remove the waste organic matter in the water body. The removal of the waste is done by the aerobic bacteria in the water. Therefore, it is actually the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by the bacteria in the water in the process of removing the waste, that is in the process of decomposition. It is expressed in milligrams of oxygen per litre.

Indian standards of Biological Oxygen Demand

For drinking water, the Biological Oxygen Demand should be less than 5 mg per litre. For treated wastewater to be disposed in water bodies the Biological Oxygen Demand should be 30 mg per litre.

What is the need?

The National Green Tribunal finds that these steps would help in restoring the aesthetics, water availability, microclimate, aquatic life, recharge of ground water and in maintaining the e-flow of the rivers.

Backdrop

This direction from the National Green Tribunal has come in while hearing a plea filed by petitioner Haryana resident, retired lieutenant colonel Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi. Colonel Oberoi has filed a plea in the tribunal and seek for the restoration of the Ghata Lake in Gurgaon. Apart from it, he filed plea seeking the restoration of 214 other water bodies, natural channels in the district and similar water bodies in Faridabad also.

National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

It was established by an act of Parliament of India. The Act known as the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal is in New Delhi apart from its regional benches in Chennai , Pune, Kolkata and Bhopal. The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta. The NGT has been created after inspirations from the article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.

NGT Act, 2010

The Act of the Indian Parliament that enables the creation of a special tribunal to handle the environmental cases. NGT to Establish Nodal Agency to Protect Water Bodies NGT to Establish Nodal Agency to Protect Water Bodies