New Delhi: A plea alleging rising air pollution by diesel-run ships in the Indian territorial waters today prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek replies from the Centre and others.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the ministries of Environment and Shipping, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Directorate General of Shipping seeking their replies before August 17, the next date of hearing.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Shibani Ghosh seeking directions to monitor the pollution caused by ships and vessels entering the Indian maritime coastal waters and submit a report to the NGT.
The plea claimed that the ships were responsible for emitting a "significant amount of air pollutants into the atmosphere" by burning fuel while sailing or waiting in the the docks.
"A survey was carried out to establish average fuel consumption. Fishing vessels consume about 20 litres of diesel per day and other vessels consume about 60-70 litres per day," it said.
The air pollution caused by ships has severe impact on the ambient air quality of the coastal areas as they emit pollutants like particulate matter, sulphur oxides or nitrogen oxides which contribute to global air pollution as well, the petition said.
Referring to a CPCB study, it said that pollutants were also emitted when the "ships are waiting in the bay for docking space."
The lawyer contended that shipping emission was "rapidly rising" as trade through water-borne transport increased around the globe.
"According to the annual report 2016-2017 of the Ministry of Shipping , approximately 95 percent of the India's trade by volume and 68 percent buy value is moved through maritime transport," the petition said.
"Direct the respondents to place on record the various actions and steps initiated by them to regulate and control air pollution caused by ships," the plea said.