NGT Forms 8-Member Committee to Investigate Pollution of Mumbai’s Lake Powai

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set up an eight-member joint committee to investigate the pollution of Lake Powai in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai and the authorities’ failure to take corrective action.

The Court said it was necessary to deal with uncorrected pollution, which could cause harm to the environment and wildlife.

The bench headed by the presiding judge, Adarsh ​​Kumar Goel, in an order passed on January 12, noted: “The water quality of the lake may lead to the death of fish, affecting the nesting sites of crocodiles, dependent on fish. Although some initiatives have reportedly been taken for the restoration/revitalization of the lake and the prevention of environmental damage, the measures taken so far are not adequate and the desired results are yet to be achieved.” “There is therefore a need to continue the sustained efforts of State authorities and civil society and to maintain constant vigilance. It is also necessary to take enforcement action to enforce environmental standards through coordinated efforts of all statutory regulators, whenever necessary. The primary responsibility rests with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the Wetlands Authority and the Forestry Department (Wildlife Division). Local police may also have to take responsibility,” NGT said.

The Tribunal further stated that the Department of Environment of Maharashtra must also take proactive measures. Since the main issue is compliance with the standards established by the statutory regulators, it is enough to give instructions to the said authorities so that they fulfill their duty. It may be necessary to form a joint committee for coordinated action.

The Committee can draw up its action plan covering all aspects of the environment in the light of previous studies and plans, possibly updated according to the current situation on the ground. The Committee may in particular take measures to ensure compliance with the Wetlands Rules 1972 and other environmental rules, including measures to prevent the discharge of sewage or any other effluent and to monitor the quality of the water to protect fish and other aquatic fauna and separate marsh crocodile sites. It may have a mechanism to assess water quality monitoring at strategic locations, explore opportunities to install aeration systems, prohibit the use of phosphate-containing detergents and other measures to be taken, the court said.

According to the applicants, the sources of pollution are the discharge of effluents and sewage, illegal recovery for construction and the dumping of debris. The lake is home to listed wildlife species under the schedule of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 (WPA). The statutory authorities failed to fulfill their obligation under the “public trust” doctrine. The area of ​​the lake is 210 hectares according to the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, with a catchment area of ​​6.61 km2.

Powai Lake is of immense ecological importance, home to several protected species of birds and animals and the lake water has many dependents for various purposes.

(To receive our daily E-paper on WhatsApp, please Click here. We allow the PDF of the document to be shared on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12:12 PM IST

Comments are closed.