The National Green Tribunal has warned the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar islands of imposing a fine for environment restoration if gaps in the management of solid and liquid waste were not bridged within six months.
The green panel said because of the peculiar situation of the islands, the tribunal was temporarily refraining from levying compensation.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said more action was required to handle the gaps in waste management.
The bench, also comprising Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad said remedial action cannot wait for an indefinite period and it was the responsibility of the UT authorities to have a comprehensive plan in place to control pollution.
“We hope in the light of interaction with the Chief Secretary, the UT will take further measures in the matter by an innovative approach, stringent monitoring at appropriate level…ensuring that the gap in solid and liquid waste generation and treatment is bridged at the earliest…” the bench said.
“.....But we expect that all necessary measures for bridging the existing gaps be taken within the outer limit of six months,” the green panel said.
In case of default, the tribunal would be left with no other option except to assess compensation on the polluter pays principle for the failure of the administration to fulfil its duties under the law to provide a clean environment, the NGT said.
The bench also directed the preparation of Integrated Islands Management Plans and Integrated Coastal Regulation Zone Plan within three months under a central government notification declaring Andaman & Nicobar as 'Islands Protection Zone.'
NGT is monitoring compliance with Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and other environmental issues by states and Union territories.