Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has “insisted” that the Ministry of Railways devise a modern environmental management plan to control air, water and noise pollution at major railway stations.
- The CPCB had called for the formation of a joint committee comprising Railway and State government/local body officials to ensure basic civic amenities and improve environment conditions at Class-I stations.
- The move follows a recent high-level meeting convened by the CPCB involving top officials of the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Development.
- The Railways in turn requested the CPCB to assign due weightage to different components/parameters in the template for environment performance based on rating of railway stations that are currently under review by the CPCB.
- However, the central agency insisted on developing a modern environmental plan to address issues relating to air, water and noise pollution in each of the 720 stations taken up for assessment across the country.
- Joint inspections conducted by the Central and State pollution control authorities at select stations in the last two years revealed that a majority of them had not complied with the green norms under various statutory rules of the CPCB.
These stations had not obtained necessary approvals under the
- Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
- Air (Prevention and Control of Air Pollution) Act, 1981,
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
which was also insisted upon by the National Green Tribunal.
- The CPCB in its report mentioned the information and data needed for carrying out such a study was inadequate, preventing it to perform a complete adequacy study of the system.
- The CPCB, however, helped bring this information — which otherwise could not be traced — in the public domain.
- Railway stations need to gear up in this direction and are required to create a separate department that looks into the aspect of environmental management at railway premises.
- The performance of 36 stations is not acceptable at the current stage and requires considerable improvement.
- This study was conducted for only five per cent of 720 stations, with similar studies required for the remaining stations as well.
- The performance improvement for these stations is the need of the hour so this can be replicated in other stations as well.
-Source: The Hindu, Down to Earth Magazine