A plea alleging illegal processing of electronic waste on the banks of Ramganga in western Uttar Pradesh on Friday led the National Green Tribunal to seek reply from the Centre and state government.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the ministries of Environment and Forests and Urban Development (MoUD), Central Pollution Control Board, UP government and others while seeking their responses in two weeks. The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey seeking action against illegal processing of electronic waste in Moradabad, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh along river Ramganga, an important tributary of the Ganges.
"Large number of people are involved in unscientific dismantling, crude chemical leaching of printed circuit boards, burning of wires/waste electrical and electronic components, grinding of residues, washings of metal rich residue (milled black powder) on the banks of Ramganga," the plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Bansal, said. Referring to various studies, the petitioner said that copper levels were five times higher in five different soil samples collected near Ramganga, while chromium level was twice the Canadian standard and cadmium was 1.3 times. The results were similar for water samples taken from the river where mercury levels were found to be eight times higher, which also had traces of arsenic, it said.