The National Green Tribunal has sought an action taken report (ATR) from the Himachal Pradesh government on steps taken to clean Ashwani Khud river, which had heaps of plastic waste flowing into it as per a video that went viral last year. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the state government to submit the ATR by April 30.
Taking cognisance of the video, NGT had directed the state pollution control board to verify the facts and submit a detailed report. The board had issued notices to the Shimla Municipal Corporation and Solan Municipal Council for violation of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
During the hearing, the tribunal was informed that Solan Municipal Council is in the process of preparing drainwise estimate for installing plastic trap, nets and check dams. Shimla Municipal Corporation told the bench that it has taken certain steps in the matter of solid waste management, and fencing work will be completed by April 15. Besides, it said, the plastic waste will be purchased by the corporation and processed in Waste to Energy Plant.
The 1.2-minute video on a "river of plastic" went viral on the social media, showing that it was the Ashwani Khud, near Seri, in Solan district. It showed that the river, which had supplied drinking water to Shimla till 2017, had turned into the "river of plastic", with enormous quantity of waste seen flowing into it.
(With inputs from agencies.)