SC mandates all Industrial Units to have Functional Primary Effluent Treatment Plants (PETPs) in place by 22nd May, 2017
Responding to a Public Interest Litigation (“PIL”) filed in the year 2012 seeking directions of the courts to control industrial pollution, the Supreme Court (“SC”) in a recent order dated 22nd February, 2017 put forth several directions to undertake implementation measures to curb industrial pollution.
In Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (“Petitioner”) & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (“Respondents”) [Writ Petition(C) No. 375 of 2012], the Petitioner filed a PIL seeking directions to ensure that no industry which requires a “consent to operate” from the concerned Pollution Control Board, is permitted to function, unless it has a functional effluent treatment plant, which is capable to meet the prescribed norms for removing the pollutants from the effluent, before it is discharged.
The SC noted that the concerned Pollution Control Board grants a “no objection” to industry/ies only when an effluent treatment plant has been set up, after which the “consent to operate”, is issued. Therefore, it concluded that all running industrial units, which require “consent to operate” from the concerned Pollution Control Board, already have a functional primary effluent treatment plant, in place.
Laying emphasis on the fact that primary effluent treatment plants must not only be in place but must also be maintained in good order after the industry becomes functional, the SC issued the following directions:
- All State Pollution Control Boards must issue notices to all industrial units, which require consent to operate to make their primary effluent treatment plants fully operational within 3 months i.e. by 22nd May, 2017.
- Post 22nd May, 2017, the concerned State Pollution Control Board(s) must mandatorily conduct physical inspections to verify whether each industrial unit which requires consent to operate has a functional primary effluent treatment plant.
- The industrial units which are not able to make their primary effluent treatment plant fully operational, within 22ndMay, 2017 will be restrained from any further industrial activity. In order to action this, the concerned electrical supply and distribution agency/company will be mandated to honour the recommendations of the concerned State Pollution Control Board in disconnecting electricity supply to the defaulting industry.
- The defaulting industries which will be disabled from carrying industrial activities pursuant to such inspections can make a fresh application for “consent to operate” before the concerned Pollution Control Board after setting up a functional primary effluent treatment plant.
- Private individuals and organizations have the right to file a complaint before the concerned Pollution Control Board against any defaulting industry.
- Local or municipal authorities are directed to set up Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) within three years after acquiring land and completing other formalities.
Further, the SC directed the state pollution control boards to make provision for “online real-time continuous monitoring system” to display emission levels in the public domain on their portals.