Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of environment management plan for government hospitals in India, 03/07/2023

  • 03/07/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Gaurav Sharma Vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Others dated 03/07/2023.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), July 3, 2023 said that all government hospitals in India should have an environment management plan to tackle all sources of pollution in and around the hospital. The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Sudhir Agarwal directed constitution of a five member joint committee to be headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Health with representatives of MoEF&CC, Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Home Affairs not below the rank of Joint Secretary and nominee of CPCB not below the rank of Director.

The Committee will be free to interact with stakeholders and obtain data of status of availability of environment management plans covering all sources of pollution in and around all Government district hospitals or larger than district hospitals including medical colleges as may be specified by the committee, the order said. The joint Committee will meet within one month to finalize a questionnaire for getting specific information within one month thereafter. Considering the data collected, appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP) will be finalized within three months and placed on the website of the Ministry of Health.

The Committee will "specify issues to be covered within the complex and outside the boundary of the healthcare facility complex upto specified periphery for regulation and control of polluting activities which may be found necessary to offset adverse impact on environment". An action taken report in the matter has to be filed with the Registrar General of the NGT by the Secretary, Health and Commissioner of Police, Delhi within four months.

The NGT order also contained directions to be followed with respect to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. The directions were passed after taking into consideration the report of a joint committee. The report gave details of deliberations in different meetings and of study conducted by School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi in association with AIIMS. The NGT, July 3 accepting the report directed that the measures suggested in the report be taken in a time bound manner especially with respect to an environment management plan not only covering hospital campus but also surrounding periphery. Prohibited and regulated activities need to be identified and mentioned in such a plan with nodal agencies for monitoring compliance and dedicated funds.

With regard to measures required to be adopted outside the AIIMS campus, such as control of traffic congestion, removing encroachments, congestion at gates, speeding of vehicles, improving road conditions, control of dust and other sources of pollution, the NGT constituted an eight member joint committee (Traffic Police, NDMC, PWD, DDA, Delhi Police, AIIMS, CPCB and DPCC) to prepare an action plan in the light of recommendations of the joint Committee and to monitor its execution in a time bound manner. Ambient air quality in and around the campus be monitored and as and when it exceeds the laid down parameters within 500 meters of the boundaries of AIIMS, regulatory measures be taken in the light of Graded Response Action Plan1 (GRAP). Such an action plan be prepared preferably by July 31, 2023, the order said.

With regard to measures inside AIIMS campus, such as plantations, waste management, regulation of footfall of visitors and other attendants of patients, squatting, nature of vehicles, management of patient services, parking issues, providing shuttle service, landscaping, involvement of voluntary organizations or individuals, preparation of environment management/action plan, responsibility will be of the Director AIIMS in coordination with concerned departments.

The court was hearing the application filed by Gaurav Sharma regarding failure of the statutory and administrative authorities to control air pollution in and around premier healthcare institutions to the detriment of health of indoor and OPD patients, their attendants, doctors and staff.

Note: Joint committee report on measures to curb air pollution, traffic congestion and encroachments in and around AIIMS, Delhi, 01/07/2023