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16 Feb 2022

The Indian Express (India)

India: Gujarat High Court issues notices to ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel for alleged illegal chemical dumping in Tapi river

“Gujarat HC notice in PIL against effluent discharge into Tapi river.” 16 Feb, 2022

[T]he Gujarat High Court issued notices to the Central and state governments, pollution control boards, Surat authorities and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel Ltd (AM/NS) following public interest litigation...for discharging untreated effluent into the Tapi river and its creek.

The [lawsuit alleges] the effluent disposal was in violation of the zero discharge conditions imposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) [when] granting environment clearance for the company...

AM/NS was [allegedly] illegally discharging industrial effluents containing acid, heavy metals, organic substances, high TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and phenolic compounds, among others, from its Hazira plant in the Tapi estuary. The discharge harms fish-breeding and causes large-scale water pollution . . .

The Consolidated Consent and Authorisation (CCA) and environment clearance (EC) granted to the company in 2016 and 2010 had stipulated a zero effluent discharge policy. A CCA order from 2020 had also stipulated that the final treated effluent should be reused at the plant [and] should not discharge treated wastewater...

The company was granted permission in April 2021 by Narmada Water Resources Water Supply and Kalpasar Department of the state government to draw fresh water from the river...the [lawsuit] has [asked] the court...to quash...the permission...citing AM/NS’s failure to apprise the state government of its violation of the zero-effluent discharge.

Despite the violations, the [lawsuit] claimed that GPCB has remained “oblivious” to the non-compliance, notwithstanding the submission that GPCB had issued at least four notices to AM/NS in the past five years under the provisions of the Water Act [of]1974 for illegally discharging wastewater into the sea/estuary.