SC gives free hand to NGT to whip Ganga polluting industries

The SC has asked the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to actively involve itself in the cleaning up of the Ganges river

Inactivity of other bodies

The SC asked the NGT to step in and take up the task of closing down industries polluting Ganga and take action against industries failing to install adequate anti-pollution measures to treat industrial effluents by March 2015. This responsibility had been entrusted to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and state pollution control boards (SPCBs). However, these agencies have failed to even implement SC orders which have been passed over the last 30 years to reduce pollutants in the Ganga.

Efficient functioning of the NGT

The SC opined that the NGT’s work, with its expertise in the field of environment, was impressive. The NGT would be in a better position to follow through on judgments and monitor their implementation in certain scenarios like the closure of polluting industries. Also, it can oversee the actions taken by different authorities and environmental agencies.
The SC has decided to give a free rein to NGT to take control of the cleaning-up of the Ganga. It will deal with the highly polluting industries which are discharging untreated effluents into Ganga and take appropriate measures, as it deems fit. The SC will retain control of certain matter such as those relating to ‘discharge of untreated sewage from municipalities and towns in the Ganga basin states’. The Court also asked the NGT to file status reports after intervals of six months on action being taken by it against polluting industries.


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