NGT directs shutdown of all industries near Bellandur Lake

The National Green Tribunal on 19 April 2017 ordered an immediate closure of all the industries located near Bengaluru’s Bellandur Lake. The directive was delivered by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter who banned dumping of any kind of solid municipal waste around the lake. He has also announced an environment compensation fine of Rs 5 lakh on anyone found dumping waste in or around the lake.

The green panel has ordered the State Pollution Control Board to seal all the industries found violating the directions. The ban would cover all the industries located in the vicinity of the lake and that are discharging effluent into it. Only those industries that pass the inspection process conducted by a joint inspection team will be allowed to operate.

The inspection team will analyse the effluent in the discharge and see whether it is within the permissible limit. The panel has also directed a committee comprising officials from various developmental bodies of the city to oversee cleaning of the lake once in a month, which includes desilting, surface cleaning and removal of all waste. The bench also directed the authorities to ensure that no untreated sewage enters the lake.

Further, the NGT slammed the local bodies and the Karnataka government for their inaction and inability in maintaining the Bellandur Lake. In February 2017, a mound of garbage was set on fire causing emission of thick clouds of smoke that severely impacted the traffic and caused panic. The NGT stated that such emissions are bound to have an adverse impact on environment and ecology as well as human health and thus, it requires serious investigation and remedial measures.

To ensure that these directions by the NGT are implemented fully, the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, which is at the forefront of the fight to revive the river, announced the formation of a 10-member committee called United Bengaluru for Bellandur, which will comprise petitioners, local residents and experts.

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