Production of inorganic fertilizer needs environmental clearance first-NGT
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has made it clear that the production or manufacturing of inorganic fertilizers needs permission from the environmental authority. It has also been said that these chemicals are covered by the Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 2006.
If you don’t get an environmental clearance first, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification puts restrictions and bans on new projects or activities, as well as on expanding or updating existing projects.
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The tribunal said that just because the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change made a mistake about inorganic chemicals in an earlier case could not be a reason to agree with the petitioner’s arguments.
A private company asked the NGT to clarify that its products, Potassium thiosulfate, and Calcium, which are liquid fertilizers, were not covered by the notification.
The petition also said that when the inorganic chemicals were brought up to the ministry in August, it ‘wrongly held’ that they were covered by the notification and that they needed to get an environmental clearance before they could be made.
A bench made up of Chairperson Justice AK Goel, Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal, and Expert Members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad said, ‘We can’t take up the case.’
The bench said that no one who had been hurt by an environmental violation had brought up the issue, and the notification clearly mentioned chemical fertilizers, which was enough to cover all kinds of chemicals.
The idea of being careful
The bench said that the EIA process was part of the precautionary principle and that it had to be interpreted in a strict way to make sure that no activity that could hurt the environment was left out of the regime.
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The green panel pointed out that the petitioner had relied on the ministry’s position in a different case, which said that inorganic chemicals were not covered by the EIA notification.
‘Therefore, the fact that the MoEF&CC took a wrong legal position in some cases cannot be a reason to accept the applicant’s argument,’ the tribunal said in rejecting the application.