30 advocate volunteers to inspect garbage disposal in civic bodies of  ten districts of Himachal: High Court

Thirty advocate volunteers would conduct an immediate inspection of the facilities of garbage disposal available with the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in ten districts of the State to access their use, effects, and deficiencies, which will go a long way in assisting Himachal Pradesh High Court in passing effective and purposeful directions.

This order was passed by the division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyan Vaidya on April 27, 2023, while hearing a bunch of seven writs Petition Petions and PIL filed before the court regarding illegal dumping of wet and solid garbage including plastic waste in rivers, rivulets and water streams of Himachal Pradesh.

Passing an order the bench directed 30 volunteers proposed by the state would complete the entire exercise of inspection of respective local bodies vis-à-vis the facilities for solid waste and plastic waste management, scientific disposal of the waste, proper segregation, pollution of water streams, rivers, rivulets or any other water bodies.

 The court fixed the next date of hearing on September 11, 2023, and directed the state that reports prepared by the volunteers be positively submitted at least one week prior to the date of hearing.

Earlier to this AG supplied a list of volunteers for such purpose and assured that the needful would be done within four weeks and the matter to be reported to this Court.

On April 6, Court also observed in the matter that not only the citizens but even the municipal bodies were dumping waste in rivers, streams, rivulets, etc. on a daily basis. HC also directed the state on May 23, 2023 

 that the State Pollution Control Board, except show cause notices issued under the various statutes of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, has failed to take any coercive action against the erring authorities or individuals.

” It is high time that the Pollution Control Board takes some stern action, so as to ensure that the menace of violation of the environmental laws is curbed. Let suggestions in this regard be filed on or before the next date of hearing.” the court further added

During the course of the hearing and partly compliance with the court order division bench also found the compliance affidavits and status reports submitted by the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Department (HPPCD) and urban local bodies have not revealed due compliance with the orders and directions passed by this Court from time to time.

Court had also sought strict action against the Urban local bodies and people indulged in the practice.

The Court also took also cognizance of an issue of door-to-door collection of garbage in various towns of Himachal Pradesh.

Showing concern over the pathetic state of affairs regarding garbage disposal and its dumping in the water bodies the bench observed that the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules and Plastic Waste Management Rules in particular and the Environment Protection Act in general appear to have been violated with impunity by the local bodies.

However, the petitioner proposed to the court a large number of measures required for effective compliance with the court order including mechanisms, cleaning the streams and visible hillsides, inadequacy of prescribed penalties and fines.

The court was informed about the inadequacy of dumping or land-filled sites and required effective implementation of  Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) etc.  

The petitioner state has proposed the inspection of garbage facilities and their efficient uses by advocates Naresh Kaul, Mukul Sood, Goldy, and Sanjay Jaswal in  Kangra district, Ad. Vinod Thakur, Sunny Dhatwalia, and Tarun K Sharma for Hamirpur district;  Mohit Thakur and Malay Kaushal for Bilaspur district;  Balram Sharma, Sunny Modgil, and Dheeraj Vashishat for Una district, Ashok K Tyagi and Jyotirmay Bhatt for Sirmaur district;  Maan Singh for Kullu district;  Devanand Sharma, Aruna Chauhan, Dalip Kaith, Durga Singh Kainthla, and Yashveer Singh Rathore for Shimla district;  Pratap Singh Goverdhan, Anirudh Sharma and Aditya Kaushal for Solan district;  Neel Kamal Sharma, Vinod Thakur, Anil Chaudhary, and Varun Rana for Mandi district;  Sat Parkash and Nimish Gupta.  for Chamba district;  and Ad. Kush Sharma for Bharyal Plant.

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