In furtherance to the objectives of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held at Rio De Janerio, India established the National Green Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as “NGT”) under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. The NGT aims for effective and expeditious disposal of cases pertaining to environmental protection including compensation for damages that are incidental thereto.

Plastic Ban

Owing to the very low degree of biodegradability, plastics pose a great threat to our planet. The remedy available to deal with the menace of plastics is their ability to be recycled, thereby permitting their reuse. Thus, in order to reduce the burden of plastic on earth, it is essential to have a regulatory or restrictive mechanism to ensure their proper disposal.

Working towards the environmental concerns raised by the unregulated disposal of plastics, the NGT- Eastern Bench (hereinafter referred to as the “Bench”), vide its order in the case of Subhash Datta Vs. Union of India & Ors., dated January 22, 2018[1], has advocated for stricter imposition of its ban. The Bench observed that although Puri has been declared a ‘no plastic zone’ there still persist unscrupulous elements who smuggle plastic bags into the town. The Bench sought enforcement of strong actions with greater vigor for prevention of disposal of thermocol, plastic, polythene, etc., being dumped into the sewerage line against those who continue to flout the orders of the Municipal Corporation.

Rain Water Harvesting

Another aspect covered by the NGT Bench vide the aforesaid order also focused on the necessity of the phase-wise implementation of the rain water harvesting scheme in respect of all the buildings, be it private or government. Rain water harvesting is a technique whereby rainwater is collected and stored in reservoirs installed in buildings/houses. The water so accumulated can then be used for varied uses including self-supply to the installing unit thus reducing the dependency on ground water for all needs. Promoting Rain water harvesting, the Bench has called for greater compliance to such provisions to assure easy and efficient recourse to natural resources.

By such steps, the NGT aims at reduction in the use of harmful substances, and encourages recourse to cost effective and simple remedies thereby safeguarding the environment.