Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken strict action against ongoing illegal activities along the Ganga River in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Key Points:

  • Violation of 2017 Order: The NGT noted that the Ganga floodplain at Sarjupurba is being encroached upon, directly contravening its 2017 order for the Ganga rejuvenation project (Haridwar to Unnao and Kanpur).
  • Pollution Concerns: The dumping of garbage, polythene, and sewage into the river poses a serious threat to water quality.
  • Unheeded Directives: The 2017 order mandated a 100-meter buffer zone with no development or construction along the riverbanks. This has not been implemented.
  • Inadequate Sewage Treatment: No significant progress has been made on treating sewage flowing into the river through drains leading to bathing ghats.
  • Questionable Construction Permits: The NGT expressed concerns about construction permissions granted within the regulatory zone, potentially violating the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authority Orders (2016 & 2024).

Next Steps:

  • Demarcation of Zones: The NGT has directed proper demarcation of “No Development Zone” and “No Construction or Regulatory Zone” as per the 2016 order.
  • Kanpur Municipal Corporation Response: The Tribunal seeks a detailed response from the Kanpur Municipal Corporation regarding sewage treatment plans.
  • Uttar Pradesh Council Response: The Council has been granted three weeks to file a reply on the issue.

Challenges and Key Takeaways:

  • Persistent Challenges: Despite initiatives, cleaning the Ganga remains difficult due to inadequate sewage treatment, poor waste management, and floodplain encroachment.
  • Enforcement Matters: Stronger enforcement of environmental regulations and NGT orders can deter polluters and ensure compliance.
  • Protecting Floodplains: Stricter measures like clear demarcation of no-development zones and penalties for encroachment can be put in place to safeguard floodplains.
  • Sewage Infrastructure: Improved sewage treatment plants and stricter wastewater management are crucial in cities like Kanpur.

About NGT:

  • The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act. 
  • It specializes in resolving environmental cases swiftly and effectively. 
  • It addresses issues related to environmental protection, forest conservation, and natural resource preservation, providing relief and compensation for damages. 
  • Unlike regular courts, it operates independently, guided by principles of natural justice rather than standard civil procedure.

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