Air pollution is not restricted to Delhi, but to the entire nation, killing 1.2 million people each year which is costing 3% of the GDP. To develop this condition for a better tomorrow the National Green Tribunal is taking steps through landmark judgments.In the case of Charudatt Koli v. M/S Sea Lord Containers Ltd, it observed that if there is an adverse air quality and it is harming the citizens, at no cost can the polluter escape liability. Every polluter can be held liable and the precautionary principle can be imposed. The action to be taken is to ensure steps for checking pollution, and payment of compensation for damage to the environment.
An issue which came before the Tribunal was regarding the remedial steps which were to be taken for the control of air pollution around the villages of Ambapada and Mahul on the outskirts of Mumbai. Emissions from oil companies were said to be the biggest contributors to the pollution. The Tribunal directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to prepare a comprehensive action plan for control of air pollution along with prevention and remedial action by the operators of regulatory authorities. There was a presence of Volatile Organic Compounds which were to be investigated. A joint Committee was set up to provide suggestion to the Tribunal.
In the report it was established that there was damage done on behalf of the respondents, further which their stand could not be accepted and the same principle was applied in which no polluter can escape the liability. The lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for re-scheduling cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Further an action plan was to be submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board.
The Respondents replied by saying that, observations of CPCB will be met and a revised plan consistent with the above observations will be prepared and submitted to the CPCB within 3 weeks. Further, the Tribunal said that, the CPCB can direct any further action which is necessary.
However compensation had to be paid to the victims. The Tribunal directed that Charudatt Koli and Dattaram L. Koli,were to be paid an interim compensation of 2.5 lakhs respectively and Dayaram H. Mahulkar and Mohan L. Mhatre to get a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs respectively.The compensation amount will be over and above any other payment earlier made. Additionally, an amount of Rs. 15 lakhs may be deposited with the MPCB for disbursement within one monthAlong with this an interim amount of Rs. 10 crores to be deposited with CPCB for restoration of the environment.
It can be hoped that with such measures India will be able to deal with the pollution and even curb it for a better and healthier environment.