Report on air pollution in Vapi due to burning of waste, 30/11/2019

  • 30/11/2019

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an order on October 31, 2019 in the matter of Yunus Daud Shaikh Vs State of Gujarat in in O.A. No. 910/2019. The matter related to air pollution in Vapi due to burning of waste and scrap from paper mills in the night and chemical contamination of ground water in Vapi area. In the said order, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) were jointly asked to furnish a factual and action taken report in the matter.

The committee jointly visited four paper mills in Vapi Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to observe the waste management practices adopted by these units and also carried out monitoring of ground water around GIDC Vapi during November 13-15, 2019. The team along with the complainant also surveyed GIDC Vapi and adjoining areas during night time on November 13, 2019.

The paper mills which do not require deinking process for products like paper board/kraft paper are generating plastic waste and small quantities of ETP sludge. It was noted that the paper mills were having agreement with the cement industries for co-processing of plastic waste. The ETP sludge was mostly reused back in the process owing to fibrous material. No ETP sludge was found stored in the premises of the units during the visit.

Open indiscriminate burning of waste at three different locations in a big open area was observed during night time. The team again visited the same area the next morning and observed that different types of industrial waste such as liners, drums, plastic bags, cables and also waste from commercial areas was scattered in the area, which is surrounded by population.

The area was outside Vapi GIDC and falls in the jurisdiction of Karvad Gram Panchayat. It was understood during the survey of the area that many scrape vendors were located around the area and used to bring scrap from different industries and commercial areas. The scraps were sorted for recovery of various valuable items and the rest thrown away on the open land and burned.

The committee after the visit recommended among other things:

  • Since open burning was taking place in the land of Karvad gram panchayat, hence primary responsibility to stop accumulation of waste and scrap lies with the gram panchayat. In this regard, the GPCB should issue a letter to the Karvad Gram Panchayat asking them to take necessary action to stop dumping and accumulation of unauthorized waste in their land.
  • Secondly, the GPCB, district administration and urban local body should carry out a joint survey of the scrap traders cluster in the area within three months. The outcome of this survey should be taken up in the District Environment Committee for Valsad district, to monitor and stop such illegal open burning.
  • The paper industries which were generating deinking sludge, should submit quarterly reports of generation and disposal of deinking sludge to the GPCB. Further, the units which had obtained one year trial permission from the GPCB for using deinking sludge for waste to energy should submit compliance reports for the period. The SPCB should carry out random emission monitoring to verify it.

Note: The report of November 30, 2019 was uploaded to the NGT site on July 28, 2020