NGT raps MoEF for 'singing old tune' on disposal of CFLs

The green panel on Thursday further warned the Environment Ministry over a plea relating to unregulated and unrestricted disposal of CFLs.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 03, 2015, 18:17 PM IST

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for not giving "serious" consideration to formulation of a scheme for environment-friendly disposal of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi, which had asked the ministry to consider divergent views and arrive at a 'rational' approach for devising the scheme, voiced its displeasure and directed MoEF Joint Secretary to personally appear before the court on the next date of hearing with the scheme.

"We expected the scheme to see the light of the day and in the event of the scheme being not formulated we wanted the concerned Joint Secretary of the MoEF to remain present before us to apprise us of the propositions which are irreconcilable and come in the way formulation of the scheme in his view.

"If he was present we could have understood the problem better and could have extended our help in setting things right. However, none from the MoEF except its counsel who appears to be scarcely briefed is present before us. He has chosen to file a reply which sings the old tune," the bench said.

The green panel further warned the Environment Ministry saying,"we hope and trust that he (Joint Secretary) may not create a situation which may force us to take coercive measures."

The matter is fixed for next hearing on January 6.

The Tribunal was hearing a plea by NGO Toxic Links relating to unregulated and unrestricted disposal of CFL, which, it said, was leading to contamination of environment and human health.

The NGO had sought directions to frame standards of mercury content in CFLs in accordance with international norms.

"Direct the MoEF to ensure safe disposal of mercury bearing waste in CFLs in accordance with the concept of the Extended Producers Responsibility and the Khwaja Committee Report to protect the environment and health from any adverse impact, the plea had said.

According to the petition, mercury is a hazardous substance and an environment pollutant as per the definitions provided in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The petition had alleged that by not following the strict standards for disposal of mercury in CFLs, it is increasing both environmental pollution and exposing public health to a very hazardous toxic, thus violating Article 48-A and 47 of the Constitution.