Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding emission of high-level methane gas from landfill sites, India, 19/03/2024

  • 21/03/2024

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of News item titled "Ahmedabad Surat landfills among worst three methane hotspots in India" appearing in the Times of India dated 07.02.2024.

The application was registered suo-motu on the basis of a news item titled "Ahmedabad Surat landfills among worst three methane hotspots in India" published in Times of India, February 7, 2024. The news publication highlights principally emission of high-level methane gas from landfill sites at Ahmedabad and Surat based on a study conducted by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Also the news item contained a chart in respect to certain cities of states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Assam giving details of landfill sites there and average emission of methane from those sites causing huge pollution.

The court was of the opinion that the news item gave rise to a substantial question relating to environment due to implementation of Scheduled Enactments under NGT Act, 2010 and the issue is not just confined to four states but it appears to be a pan India problem.

However, for the time being, in order to collect primary informations, the court decided to call for a factual report in respect of landfill sites mentioned in said news item report in cities Central Mumbai, Pune and Kalyan in Maharashtra, Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Taranagar and Chirawa in Rajasthan and Nazira, Dibrugarh-Tinsukia in Assam.

For the purpose of submitting factual report, the NGT directed constitution of a Joint Committee comprising a Senior Officer to be nominated by Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), concerned regional officers of respective state pollution control boards, a representative of ISRO to be nominated by the Director; and a Senior Scientist nominated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). CPCB would be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.

The committee would collect relevant factual information; if necessary, visit the sites and submit factual report particularly relating to compliance of such sites with Schedule I of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 (MSW Rules, 2016) and remedial measures taken on para (F) of the said Schedule within three months.

The report should also give status of authorization granted by SPCB, accumulation of waste in quantified terms on sites in question and ambient air quality monitoring data around these sites as per MSW Rules, 2016. The committee may also indicate mitigation measures taken for reduction in organic emissions, including methane from ONGC sites separating them from landfill sites as the case may be. The court also directed the MoEF&CC, CPCB, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board among others to be impleaded as respondent in the matter.

The next hearing of the case will be held on July 5, 2024.