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Delhi High Court issues notice to Environment Ministry, Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee on setting up of Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities

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New Delhi, Oct 7 (ILNS)The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), on a PIL challenging a tender floated by the DPCC, regarding setting up of Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, passed the order on a PIL filed by International Human Rights Council, a public charitable trust, through Advocates Suren Uppal, Sneha Baul, Samiksha Gupta, Ch Animesh Prusty and Akshita Raina. The matter was posted for the next hearing on November 30.

The petition assailed the tender document dated August 9, 2021, inviting operators for setting up two Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities in the national capital.

It alleged that the tender floated by the Delhi Government on August 9 was in contravention with the statutory rules of Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2016, made under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The plea pointed out that the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, embodying provisions for ensuring environmentally sound disposal of bio-medical wastes, provides that for the development of common biomedical waste treatment facilities, only the municipalities/local bodies under the state government are entrusted with the task of allocating suitable land.

Since it is the responsibility of the State Pollution Control Board/Pollution Control Committee to identify the coverage area for setting up the waste treatment facilities, the aforesaid land has to be specifically provided by the authorities and not by the private entities. Furthermore, the allocation of land by the government also ensures that the same is free from encumbrances, which makes it all the more essential that the land is allocated by the government itself,” states the plea.

The plea further pointed out that the proposal for setting up two CBMWTFs having a capacity of 14 and 32 tonnes per day would replace the existing facility having a capacity of 28.8 tonnes per day. “The setting up of two CBMWTFs against the replacement of one facility is clearly not justified and likely to increase pollution due to the addition of new emission sources, though the same is not even required, as compared to the generation of bio-medical waste in the next 10 years. Also, such facilities shall remain unutilised and will become an additional burden on land,” adds the plea.

The plea highlighted that a representation was made before the CPCB, the DPCC as well as the Centre for the purposes of requesting the concerned authorities to take action against the arbitrary setting up of CBWTFs; however, no action has been taken till date.

The PIL sought quashing of the tender document issued for setting up and operating two Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment facilities (CBMWTFs) as the modus operandi of the tender was flawed and in contravention with the statutory rules.

In addition, the plea prayed for a direction to the DPCC to act in accordance with the Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2016 and the applicable guidelines for setting up of Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment facility.

It said, “The very purpose of Rule 17 of Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, which provides that the land has to be mandatorily provided by the state government, is to ensure that the land is strictly in compliance with the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, pollution norms and strictly comply with all the environmental clearances, as the functioning of CBMWTF is a heavy-duty facility, which needs to strictly comply with environment protection norms for safeguarding the climate change.”/ILNS/KR/SNG/

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