The National Green Tribunal has refused to interfere in the grant of Environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone Clearance (EC) by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for upgradation of the existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat but directed the project proponent to ensure that the operation is environment friendly.
The green panel directed the project proponent Gujarat Maritime Board to follow the recommendations in the report of the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography.
“Further, the MoEF is directed to explore further steps for improvement of the environment and public health in the area based on the inputs from the domain experts for which the MoEF may constitute a Committee of domain experts within one month which may give its report within six months,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said.
The bench said the Committee may inter-alia suggest remedial action with reference to the conclusion in the CSIR-NIO report that the living area of most of the workers is poor and the residential accommodation is insufficient.
“Many yards are to be upgraded to curtail pollution and to enhance security. Further recommendation that upgradation of recycling yards is required and there has to be periodic monitoring of the coastal ecology every year, including marine biodiversity and bioaccumulation of metals in the marine organisms of Alang needs to be followed up,” the green panel said.
Any adverse impact on the coastal ecology including subtidal and intertidal should be brought to the notice of the concerned authority so as to take appropriate measures for future care of this region, it said.
“Gujarat Maritime Board must oversee and ensure that the ship-recycling operation remains in safe and environmentally sound manner. Entire operations be supervised by Environmental Professionals of GMB, to be supervised by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.
“Strict compliance of environmental norms may be ensured by the concerned regulatory bodies, having regard to adverse impacts of ship breaking activities, particularly in CRZ. Apart from other statutory mechanism, a MoEF nominated Committee may monitor compliance at least twice a year,” the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by NGO Conservation Action Trust and others against grant of Environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance (EC) by MoEF for ‘upgradation of existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat for undertaking safe and environmentally sound ship recycling operations by M/s Gujarat Maritime Board’.
According to the EC, the cost of the project is Rs. 1,630 crore.
According to petition, the ship breaking activity has been nationally and internationally recognised as one of the hazardous activities which has a detrimental impact on the environment and on the social life of the people.
The appellants submit that duty is cast upon the project proponent to study and evaluate all the impacts of the proposed project by way of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Study.
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and MoEF were required to consider and appraise the project in accordance with the principles of precaution and sustainable development, the plea said.
The project proponent had argued that the procedure for EC has been duly followed.
It was further stated by the project proponent that it has taken financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) after ensuring that there was compliance of environmental aspects.
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