NGT slaps ₹10 crore penalty on Kerala government for failure to protect Ramsar sites
Tags: National News
The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi has imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore on the Kerala government for failing to protect the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes, listed as Ramsar sites.
An overview of the news
A principal bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that as per the 'polluter pays principle', the fines imposed should be deposited in the ring-fenced account.
The tribunal said that the amount to be utilized under the authority of the chief secretary should be employed for conservation or restoration measures.
These wetlands have become polluted due to the accumulation of pharmaceutical waste, plastic waste, domestic waste and slaughterhouse waste.
Vembanad, the largest wetland ecosystem in Kerala was designated as a Ramsar site in the year 2002.
According to a study by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, the water holding capacity and ecology of Vembanad Lake has decreased by 85% in the last 120 years due to encroachment and destruction.
Ashtamudi Lake is home to many plant and bird species, which was included in the Ramsar list in August 2002.
Presently there is a problem of waste accumulation at this site.
What are Wetlands?
Wetlands are vital not only for the ecosystems but our climate, providing essential services such as water regulation, flood control, and water purification.
Wetlands are also capable of absorbing carbon dioxide.
Wetlands are called “Kidneys of the Earth”.
What are Ramsar sites?
A Ramsar site is a wetland site specifically designated for international importance as a waterfowl habitat under the Ramsar Convention.
Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental environment treaty established in 1975 by UNESCO.
Ramsar refers to wetlands of international importance in terms of site ecology, botany, zoology or hydrology.
National Green Tribunal
It deals with cases relating to the environment protection and conservation of forest.
It was set up in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but is guided by principles of natural justice.
New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are other four places of sitting of the Tribunal.\
Chairperson : Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
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