Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the Central governments and Gujarat State government, Surat authorities, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel Ltd (AM/NS) and pollution control boards.
It was issued after Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filled in HC by Roshni Patel, an environmental scientist from a local tribal community.
It sought the court’s directions to initiate appropriate proceedings against the steel manufacturer for discharging untreated liquid waste into the Tapi river and its creek.
The PIL stated that the disposal violated the condition of zero discharge imposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board while granting environment clearance.
PIL stated that the discharge harms fish-breeding and causes large-scale water pollution. The petition is due to be listed next on March 28.
The PIL stated that the company from its Hazira plant in the Tapi estuary was illegally discharging industrial liquid waste which contained organic substances, heavy metals, high TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), acid and phenolic compounds.
Environment Clearance (EC) and the Consolidated Consent and Authorisation (CCA) were granted to the company in 2010 and 2016, respectively, having stipulated a zero liquid waste policy.
A Consolidated Consent and Authorisation (CCA) order from 2020 also stipulated that the final treated liquid waste should be used at the plant for gardening purposes. It should not be discharged into any of its surrounding environment.
According to the PIL, the company was granted permission by the Narmada Water Resources Water Supply and Kalpasar Department of the state government in April 2021 to draw fresh water from the Tapi river for its requirements.
Challenging this permission, the PIL has sought the court’s directions to quash the consent granted, citing the company’s failure to abide by the state government requirement of the zero discharge.
In 2020, the regional office of MoEFCC found that the company was not complying with the zero liquid waste discharge.
PIL claimed that despite the violations, GPCB has remained ignorant to the non-compliance. GPCB has issued four notices in the last five years, which also observed that the company has a higher pollution concentration than the prescribed norms.