Joint committee report on land pollution in village Nangla Bujurg and pollution of Begrajpur drain, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, 13/02/2023

  • 13/02/2023

Report of the joint committee and action taken report in compliance of the National Green Tribunal in Original Application No. 744 of 2022 (Moharram Ali Vs State of Uttar Pradesh) and Original Application No. 277/2022 (Liyakat Ali & Others Vs State of UP). Two matters have been clubbed together in the report.

One is regarding illegal dumping of highly hazardous chemicals in the land owned by the Irrigation Department at village Nangla Bujurg, thana Bhopa, Muzaffarnagar. The second matter related to discharge of treated effluent directly/ indirectly in river Kali (west) majorly through Dhandera/Begrajpur drain.

In the first matter in the year 2018 an unknown highly hazardous chemical was dumped in the area by digging up the land which was then covered by fly ash. For identifying the nature of the chemical present on the land/under the land, on direction of District Magistrate Muzaffarnagar, UPPCB Head Office constituted a joint committee of IITR Lucknow and Scientific Officers of UPPCB Lucknow to visit the area, take the sample of chemical mixed fly ash and analyze it. According to the analysis, a high amount of heavy metals (calcium and potassium, chloride and sulphate) were present.

Observing immediate risk of health hazard due to high level of contamination in the soil in the site, all the chemical contaminated fly ash was collected, transported and disposed off through TSDF M/S Bharat Oil & Waste Management Pvt. Ltd.

On enquiry, it was found that one person, Anjum of village Nangla Bujurg, thana Bhopa, Muzaffarnagar was found to be mainly responsible and guilty for dumping of hazardous chemicals. Further, he was carrying out the hazardous chemical storage and trading activities illegally without taking permissions from UPPCB under Hazardous Waste Management Rules.

The UPPCB has imposed environmental compensation against Anjum from the date of incident (July 9, 2022) to the date when the fly ash and other waste was disposed of safely in TSDF on September 29, 2022. The environmental compensation of Rs. 4,15,000/- was imposed on February 8, 2023  for the above said period but as the fly ash and other waste had been dumped at village Nangla Bujurg since long (period unknown) therefore, UPPCB has issued show cause notice for imposing environmental compensation Rs. 87,10,000 on February 11, 2023 for the last four years and 282 days.

The UPPCB also imposed environmental compensation on the contractor (Irfan) for carrying out work of 4 industries generating boiler fly ash under agreement for proper disposal of fly ash but had illegally and unscientifically dumped fly ash generated from industries on the land which falls under the jurisdiction of the Irrigation Department. He was ordered to pay Rs. 4,15,000 as environmental compensation.

Four paper mills who had given their fly ash to the contractor Irfan was also held responsible for their failure to ensure that the fly ash generated in their premises was scientifically disposed off under the provisions of the Hazardous Waste Management Rules. The paper mills were also directed to pay environmental compensation.

The second matter related to discharge of treated effluent directly/ indirectly in river Kali (west) majorly through Dhandera/Begrajpur drain.

The report mentioned that analysis has shown that untreated domestic sewage is a major contributor of pollution in Begrajpur drain (main Muzaffarnagar drain) before meeting river Kali. Once the proposed sewage treatment plants (STP) are operational, significant decrease in BOD and COD levels would be observed in the main Muzaffarnagar drain also.

The report said that a total 45 water polluting industries are operational in Muzaffarnagar discharging treated effluent in river Kali (west) mainly through Dhandera/Begrajpur drain. Pulp and paper industries which were found not disposing of fly ash in a scientific manner have now submitted details regarding quantity of fly ash being generated along with details of disposal of fly ash either by proper land filling/brick making. Inspection of some fly ash landfilling areas were also conducted for verification.

High COD levels were present in the Begrajpur drain (main Muzaffarnagar drain). Major heavy metals like lead, chromium, zinc are present in the drains and are within the prescribed limits. However, parameters of hardness, magnesium and calcium (majorly contributed by untreated sewage/domestic effluent) is above the prescribed limits.  Regular inspections of industries are being carried out by the UPPCB and District administration. Actions are being taken up against industries under violation with respect to treated effluent discharge norms. Joint team is also identifying illegal industries which have potential to polluting drain and river Kali (west).