NGT issues ultimatum to ban certain RO systems

The Hindu | Nov 06, 2019

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given a “last opportunity” to the Union Environment Ministry to issue notifications pertaining to prohibition on the use of RO (reverse osmosis) systems, which result in wastage of almost 80% of water.

The NGT was referring to an order passed by it in May this year where it had directed that “wherever RO is to be permitted, condition of recovery of water to the extent of more than 60% is required”.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel warned of action against concerned officials if the order is not complied with by December 31.

“During the hearing, the officials have not shown any valid reason for non-compliance… Delay in compliance of order is causing harm to public health and environment in terms of an expert committee report to which the (environment ministry) is a party,” the Bench observed.

The Bench said that in case of non-compliance of orders the concerned officials will not be entitled to draw salaries from January 2020.

The Bench had ordered the Environment Ministry to issue “appropriate notification prohibiting the use of RO where Total Dissolved Solids in water is less than 500 mg/l”. “Further provision must be laid down for recovery of water up to 75% and use of such RO reject water for purposes such as utensil washing, flushing, gardening, cleaning of vehicles and mopping,” the Bench had held, based on a report furnished by an NGT-appointed committee.

However, a status report filed by the Ministry on October 31, read: “The Ministry has asked the CPCB to frame a holistic policy for use of RO technology and submit a draft notification. However, the draft notification has not been received till date.”

The report further stated, “As issuing notification is a policy related matter, it comprises features of multi-dimensional in character…hence, region wise detailed consultation will be required before notification.”