Concerned over indiscriminate dumping of waste into Beas and its tributaries in north India, the National Green Tribunal has announced a fine of Rs one lakh on anyone found polluting them.
The tribunal’s chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar Tuesday warned corporations, councils and individuals not to dump solid waste, untreated sewage or effluents into the river. “Whosoever is found throwing or dumping any such material, effluent, directly or indirectly into Beas or its tributaries or even at its banks, will have to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation on the basis of the ‘polluter pays principle.’ We direct the authorities concerned to notify the direction passed in this order for knowledge and compliance of the public at large,” the tribunal, in its first circuit bench hearing at Shimla, said.
The tribunal directed Himachal Pradesh’s Pollution Control Board to depute a senior officer, who shall be accompanied by a representative of the Central Pollution Control Board, to collect samples from four sewage treatments plants set up by municipal councils of Kullu and Manali.
“This committee shall also inspect and examine whether all hotels on the bank of Beas and its tributaries have clearance from the Pollution Control Board of Himachal Pradesh and other competent authorities and where they are discharging their waste, including sewage,” the tribunal said.
In a separate order, the tribunal called for an expert committee to visit Rohtang Pass, asses the extent of pollution caused due to traffic, plastic waste and deforestation, and submit a report by September 16. “Rohtang Pass, besides its geographical status, is a tourist attraction. But at the same time, its environment and ecology needs to be protected at all costs. It is not disputed that vehicular traffic, littering and excessive human presence in that area does cause damage to the environment. It has long term impact and affects downstream environment as well,” it said.