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Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, September 25, 2022 Toxic West UP rivers: NGT forms special panel to conduct 'intensive' survey of 316 industrial units

Alarmed over “disturbingly high” levels of toxic metals in rivers passing through Western Uttar Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday formed a committee of four experts to carry out an “intensive” survey of all the 316 factories located near their banks. The green panel’s move comes close on the heels of a government lab report, which cited high levels of toxins in the rivers, including Hindon, Kali and Krishna.



“A team of specialists had collected samples of water from the rivers in Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Saharanpur districts, and got them tested at SIMA Labs, an entity recognized by Ministry of Environment and Forests, and UP Pollution Control Board.

“The test results showed disturbingly high levels of toxic metals like cadmium, zinc, chrome, nickel, iron, lead, fluoride and mercury in river water. The Tuesday order is a great development for the people of the region,” said Chandraveer Singh, a retired senior scientist of Haryana Pollution Control Board and one of the petitioners.


Hundreds of residents in several villages of West UP districts, including Baghpat, are suffering from cancer, bone deformity and several other dreaded diseases apparently due to the toxic water of the rivers. Such is the prevalence of cancer in the some pockets of the region that the health department has started holding regular camps to screen locals for the dreaded disease. 

During the past three years, several petitions have been filed in the NGT, which have now been clubbed together by the green body. In 2015, the NGT had ordered to dismantle all the hand pumps in the six districts of Western UP where the groundwater is contaminated.

Gaurav Bansal, the counsel for Doaba Paryavaran Samiti (DPS), an NGO and one of the main petitioners in the case, told TOI: “The order was passed by a two-judge bench, comprising NGT chairperson Justice UD Salvi and Justice Nagin Nanda. The four-member committee will include a member each of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), UP Jal Board and AB Akolkar, former member secretary CPCB.”


In April last year, angered by “poor” implementation of its repeated orders to provide safe drinking water to the affected villages in six West UP districts, the NGT had asked the UP government, “Why the tribunal should not close all the industries which are polluting the rivers and groundwater of the six UP districts, which include Ghaziabad, Baghpat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Saharanpur?”

After going through a report prepared by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), the tribunal had observed that it is "sad" that the public at large is suffering due to consumption of contaminated groundwater.