Sunday, October 31, 2010

Regulation & Control of Bursting of Firecrackers and Noise Pollution

Hon'ble Supreme Court Directives


 The directives of three-judge Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in 2001, to all the District Collectors in the Country to ensure that firecrackers are burst only between 6 pm and 10 pm, during Dasara, Diwali and other festivals. The Bench recognizing the need to protect the people from ill effects of air and noise pollution described the 'Right to Peaceful Sleep' as a Fundamental Right.


 The Bench also directed the authorities to ensure that fireworks are not used at any time in silence zones. That is within 100 meters around public or private hospitals, nursing homes or other institutions for the reception and treatment of the sick or wounded, educational institutions, religious places, courts and other places designated as silence zones. 


The Supreme Court Bench further directed the Central and State governments, to strictly enforce  the Environment Protection Rules, which prohibit manufacture, sale or use of firecrackers generating a noise level exceeding 125 decibels at four meters distance from the point of bursting. The Bench asked the managements and Principals of all schools to take steps to inform students about the ill-effects of firecrackers on health and otherwise and also inform them about the court's directions.


Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules


 The A P State Govt, in pursuance of GOI, MoEF Notification No. S.O 123 ( E) dated 14-.2-2000 --Noise Pollution ( R &C) Rules, 2000, issued G.O.Rt. No. 227 of 11-7-2000, to regulate & control noise producing & generating sources. As per the GO. the Commissioner of Police, shall be the Prescribed Authority, to implement Standards & Rules in respect of Noise, in Municipal Corporations & similarly Superintendents of Police of Districts shall be the Prescribed Authority within their jurisdiction. These Authorities shall have powers to sub delegate the authority further.

Ground Realities, Hyderabad in Particular


The steep rise in pollution parameters, monitored by APPCB at different parts of Hyderabad city during the festival week in respect of RSPM, SPM, SO2, NoX etc and the Noise levels exceeding the prescribed levels in all the zones, are the clear indication of the ill effects and hazardous nature of indiscriminate bursting of firecrackers. The authorities concerned are not either aware of Hon'ble Supreme Court directives and Noise Pollution (Regulation& Control) Rules, vide G.O.Rt.No.227 of 11-07-2000, even after the lapse of 9 to 10 years, or have failed in discharging the duties assigned to them.




In the light of the position explained above and taking into account the adverse impacts of pollutants and noise levels, on the health of infants, the aged & the sick and the quality of life in general, the Manufacture, Sale, and Bursting of Fire Crackers need to be regulated and controlled, strictly in conformance with the directives of Hon'ble Supreme Court, and the Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules in force as on date, are to be enforced strictly.


 The widest publicity needs to be given through Print and Electronic Media regarding Supreme Court Directives and Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules, during the ongoing Diwali season to create awareness among all concerned and to be continued thereafter at regular intervals.




Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lifting of Moratorium on Projects-Pattancheru- Bollaram Area

 This has reference to MOEF Office Memorandum dated 26-10-10 lifting the Moratorium, on consideration of projects for Environmental Clearance (EC) in respect of projects to be located in Pattancheru- Bollaram area in AP State, as per the recommendation of CPCB, which is understood to have been based on the actions initiated by the local stake holders for improving environment quality of the area.


Discharges from PETL-18 KM Pipeline


 As per the information available, the CETP Pattancheru (PETL) is understood to be transferring its treated effluents to Amberpet STP through 18 Km Pipeline for further treatment (Dilution) and discharge into Musi River, thus avoiding discharges into local streams / water bodies.


 If outlet standards, applicable for discharge into inland surface waters, are being met by PETL as stipulated by Hon'ble Supreme Court, why not the treated effluents from PETL, be utilized by the member industrial units in Pattancheru Area?. What is the need to use the 18 Km pipeline, to convey treated effluents, conforming to inland surface water standards, all the way to STP at Amberpet, incurring considerable recurring expenditure for pumping etc and depleting ground water sources in Pattancheru area?



18 km Pipeline- Camouflage for Shifting Pollution of PETL


    In actual fact, the transfer of so called treated effluents of PETL through 18 Km Pipeline, is nothing but shifting the pollution problem from Nakka Vagu in Pattancheru area to Musi River, for diluting the pollution concentration levels (and not the load) and the accountability, that too cleverly camouflaged in a pipeline, as is already being done by CETP at Jeedimetla.


  The very purpose of Supreme Court directive in W.P.N0.1056 of 1990 as far back as 1998, for segregation of waste streams containing non-degradable pollutants at the very source of their generation ie at the industry itself, instead of sending it to CETP, so as to prevent Dilution as a Solution to Pollution, is defeated by the 18 km Pipeline.


 Unless the water pollution generated is identified, quantified treated and accounted for at the very source of its generation, there is every danger of it being passed on to elsewhere and to others and diluting the Pollution, Responsibility and Accountability. It is what seems to be happening in Pattancheru–Bollaram & elsewhere, making the reported improvement of water environment quality of the area a Myth. The letter dated 25-07-08 addressed to Member Secretary, CPCB and letter dated 10-06-10 addressed to Hon'ble Minister of State, E&F, with copy to CPCB on the subject refer.


Permanent Ban in Pattancheru- Bollaram Area


 Considering the pollution problems, local issues, need to protect the Drinking Water Resources and Water for Agriculture, the APPCB issued Notification of 14-10-1996, restricting the establishment / expansion of all types of Bulk Drugs, Pesticides(Tech), Dyes & Dye Intermediate manufacturing Industries and all types of Water Polluting industries in Pattancheru –Bollaram Industrial area and I Km radius of the area along with other IEs and IDAs in Medak, Ranga Reddy, Mahaboobnagar and Nallagonda districts  for 2 years from 01-01-97.


 Subsequently, the AP Govt. issued G.O.Ms.No 62 of 28-04-1999 making the existing ban notification of 14.10.1996, issued by the APPCB permanent, in accordance with the interim orders of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in W.P.No. 1056/90, dated. 12.05.1998.


Validity of Lifting Moratorium by MOEF?


 In view of Hon'ble Supreme Court Order and consequent AP Govt. G.O.Ms.No 62 of 28-04-99, permanently restricting the establishment / expansion of all types of Water Polluting industries in Pattancheru –Bollaram Industrial area and in other IEs &IDAs, the validity of MOEF Office Memorandum dated 26-10-10, lifting the Moratorium, on consideration of E.C in respect of projects to be located in Pattancheru- Bollaram area is highly questionable/objectionable.




 In the light of the position explained above, it is requested that the lifting of moratorium in respect of Pattancheru –Bollaram Industrial area be deleted from MOEF Office Memorandum dated 26-10-10 and the permanent ban imposed by GO. Ms. No. 62 dated 28-04-1999, be strictly implemented.


 It is also requested that if the treated effluents of PETL conform to the surface water standards, the same may please be utilized locally, instead of transferring them at considerable expenditure through 18 KM Pipeline to Amberpet STP, the surplus capacity of which can be utilized for treating untreated sewage finding its way into Musi River 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Policy Making and Precautionary Principle


Precautionary Principle


 The Precautionary Principle governs the use of foresight in decision making, in situations characterized by uncertainty and ignorance and where both regulatory action and inaction carry potentially large environmental and social costs. It supports sustainable development and helps to achieve significant and measurable improvement in environment, through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy and decision making agencies and the public.


Lessons from History


The key lessons can be drawn from history on using precaution in policy and decision -making. Some key lessons for decision-making have emerged from a ground-breaking analysis by the European Environment Agency of cases - from the damaging of the ozone layer by CFC chemicals to the "mad cow" disease epidemic – where public policy was formulated against a background of scientific uncertainty or surprise developments, or where clear evidence of hazards to people and the environment was ignored. That is why the "Precautionary Principle" is enshrined in European Union Treaty.


Innovations Vs Hazards


 The use of the Precautionary Principle can bring benefits beyond the reduction of health and environmental impacts, stimulating both more
innovation, via technological diversity and flexibility, and better science. But over-precaution can also be expensive, in terms of lost opportunities for innovation and lost lines of scientific enquiry. If more account is taken - scientifically, politically and economically –of a richer body of information from more diverse sources, then society may be considerably more successful at achieving a better balance between innovations and their hazards in the future. The 'late lessons" distilled from the case studies of European Community, could help to achieve this better balance.

 None of the lessons would themselves remove the dilemmas of decision-making under situations of uncertainty and high stakes. They cannot eradicate uncertainties or avoid the consequences of ignorance. But they would at least increase the chances of anticipating costly impacts, of achieving a better balance between the pros and cons of technological innovations and of minimizing the costs of unpleasant surprises.

Ignoring Precautionary Principle


The use of synthetic hormones and antimicrobial agents to promote growth in farm animals; the use of the cancer-causing synthetic hormones to prevent miscarriages in women; the use of  Asbestos, CFCs, and the Chemicals Benzene, MTBE (a substitute for lead in petrol), Tributyl Tin (an antifouling agent used for painting of ship sides) and PCBs; the use of Genetically Modified Seeds are only a few examples of ignoring well established and universally accepted "Precautionary Principal", all over the world.


Examples in AP State


The excessive and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, over exploitation of ground water, indiscriminate conversion of agriculture lands for intensive aquaculture,  contamination and encroachment of   water bodies such as Kolleru, a bird sanctuary, the polluting Activities  in the catchment areas of drinking water sources such as Himayat/ Osman Sagar, the pollution and encroachment of Hussein Sagar and other  water bodies in the name of tourism and development;   the discharge of under treated and untreated industrial effluents and domestic sewage into Musi river, the laying of pipelines for transfer of toxic industrial effluents, into Musi river with the object of dilution, the location of Pharma Parks and Bulk drug units,  near the sea coast with the sole object of discharging effluents into sea and the neglect of viable Public Transportation, resulting in increasing urban air pollution from automobiles, are some of the examples of ignoring the Precautionary Principle, closer to home in Hyderabad and the State of AP




There should be greater and shared understanding about past decisions on hazardous technologies and ill- conceived policies / decisions, and improved appreciation and wisdom about future decisions and in correcting the earlier ill-conceived decisions.