Thursday, May 9, 2013

Indian Updates: National green tribunal bans burning of plastic, tyres in Delhi's scrap market (8 May 2013)

National green tribunal bans burning of plastic, tyres in Delhi's scrap market

NEW DELHI: To prevent serious injury from being caused to environment and humans,national green tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday banned burning of plastics, tyres, wires or any such materials in the scrap market of Mayapurihere.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also directed that no one inthe scrap market will store any e-waste or other materials, which is likely to generate radioactivity and pose hazard to life and environment.

It also directed Delhi Police commissioner to ensure that the order is carried out without demur and delay.

"We hereby prohibit any person in any manner whatsoever from burning plastics, tyres, wires or any such live materials in and outside the shops in Mayapuri. No person shall use any gas or electronic cutters in dismantling of heavy machineries like generators, tankers and transformers etc.

"No person shall store any e-waste or other materials which are likely to generate radio activity and pose other hazards to life in particular and environment generally," the bench said and sought a report from the Delhi government regarding compliance of its order by next date of hearing on July 12.

The bench also directed municipal corporation of Delhi to "take appropriate steps to ensure that such materials are not stored at public places like roads, open grounds, etc."

The NGT also directed the ministry of environment and forests(MoEF), delhi development authority (DDA) and atomic energy regulatory commission to "install scanners in Mayapuri which will ensure that no material which has radio activity is permitted to be stored except in accordance with law".

The Tribunal was hearing a plea, filed by one S C Jain, claiming that despite a radiation leak in April 2010, the authorities have been unable to present any effective steps taken to prevent such an incident from happening again.

In the April 2010 incident, one person had died and seven other were injured after they were exposed to radiation when they cut open a Cobalt-60 irradiator at the scrap market.

The NGT also directed that a team each from DDA, Delhi government, MCD and others shall regularly inspect, even at odd hours, the area to ensure that the tribunal's directions are being obeyed.

The bench passed the direction after observing that burning of non-biodegradable wastes, sudden occurrence of radioactivity due to handling of radio-active materials, dismantling of heavy machines like transformers by electric or gas cutters and burning of oils is bound to cause cancer and other diseases, besides being injurious to the environment.

"In order to prevent such serious injury being caused to the environment and to the human beings, it is necessary that the Tribunal should pass appropriate directions at this stage itself and ensure its implementation," it said.

The tribunal also observed that scrap materials, waste metals, junk collected and traded in Mayapuri can contain radio activity which is very injurious and can adversely affect workers who are working without any protective gear and measures.

The NGT noted while a panel appointed by it had visited Mayapuri and found that the radio activity was within the permissible limits and no other burning activity was seen at that time, the committee had also found that e-waste was lying stored and waste material and scrap were lying unauthorisedly outside the shops.

The bench noted that according to the applicant, the inspection of the committee was known to everybody in Mayapuri beforehand and, therefore, the area was absolutely clean and burning incinerators were kept away from the panel's notice.

It also took note of photographs, placed before it by Jain, showing dismantling and cutting of huge generator sets and transformers and collection of metallic wastes as well as burning of plastic material, tyres, tankers etc.

Meanwhile, counsel appearing for MCD submitted that large number of traders involved in different commercial activities in Mayapuri did not have trading licenses or the civic agency's permission to carry on such activities.

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