The National Green Tribunal Thursday directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to issue guidelines within a month for checking pollution and monitoring of environmental norms by dairies throughout the country.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that at least the minimum distance of dairies and gaushalas from habitations, water bodies must be specified, consistent with the carrying capacity of the area.
"Any violation of environment norms under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has to be dealt with by the concerned pollution control board or local body by stopping polluting activities, recovering compensation and initiating prosecution," the bench said.
The NGT said it will be appropriate that broad and indicative compensation regime is expressly specified by the CPCB.
While local bodies may undertake the exercise of preparing inventory as per applicable municipal law, the state pollution controls boards must also not avoid their responsibility of enforcing Water and the Air Act, the tribunal said.
"Guidelines may be finalized and issued by the CPCB within one month from today. Compliance reports are sought from the state pollution control boards within two months thereafter. A consolidated report based on the information received may be filed by the CPCB by September 30," the bench said in a hearing held through video conferencing.
The tribunal noted that major environmental issues of dairy farms and 'gaushalas' are discharges of dung and urinal wastewater.
The poor handling of dung and wastewater causes odor problems also. A bovine animal, on an average, weighs 400 kg and discharges 15-20 kg/day of dung and 15-20 liters/day of urine, the NGT noted.
"Many dairy farms and gaushalas discharge the cattle dung along with wastewater into the drains, leading to clogging, which ultimately reaches to rivers and creates water pollution. Also, these clogged drains become breeding ground for mosquitoes creating health hazards and odor nuisance," the tribunal noted.
CPCB told the bench that total number of dairies operating in 26 states and union territories are 2,73,437 and total number of animals in these dairies are 21,34,018.
"There are 2,793 dairy colonies/clusters in 26 States/UTs. The total number of gaushalas operating in 28 States/UTs are 5,964 and total number of animals in these gaushalas are 4,36,727. The total amount of dung generated/produced by animals in dairies and gaushalas in the 28 States/UTs are 2,60,922 tons/day and 1,49,945 tons/day, respectively," CPCB said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by animal rights activist Nuggehalli Jayasimha seeking directions to penalise and shut down illegal dairy units.
The plea had claimed that the unauthorised dairies were causing air and water pollution leading to sanitation and health problems for both the cattle and residents of the city.