The National Green Tribunal has held four companies, including BPCL and HPCL, responsible for creating “gas chamber” like condition” in Mahul, Ambapada and Chembur areas in Mumbai and directed them to pay Rs 286.2 crore for the damaged caused to the environment.
The NGT said though there may be many reasons for presence of Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere like vehicular emissions, it cannot be denied that Sea Lord Containers Ltd (SLCL), Aegis Logistics Ltd (ALL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) contribute substantially and predominantly to the VOCs in Mahul and Ambapada villages.
“The prolonged exposure to hazardous air pollutants even at miniscule level may weaken the lungs and other organs. Conditions prevailing in the area are sometimes likened to that of ‘Gas Chamber’,” the tribunal said.
It was only because of these reasons that the companies had been taking actions to arrest the fugitive emissions which were particularly noticeable after 2015 and of late the industries have acted on implementation of action plan, the NGT said.
It accepted the computation of fine by the Central Pollution Control Board and directed them to keep the amount in separate accounts.
The green panel said: “CPCB has accordingly assessed the values of VOCs emissions based upon the data provided to them by the companies.
“In view of the submissions made by the CPCB and above discussion, the objections of the units regarding use of data prior to control measures and the incorrect application of the formula and methodology are untenable.”