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Developmental Issues

The National Green Tribunal has directed all States and Union Territories to switch over to environment- friendly methods of cremation and explore the viability of electric or piped natural gas (PNG) crematorium alongside wood to curb air pollution.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said air pollution took place in the course of cremation and electric or PNG crematoria can be set up as an alternative to the wood-based crematorium.

The tribunal noted that as per religious belief, the mode of cremation by fire is considered to be pious and in one cremation, 350-450 kg of wood is burnt in the open. While making it clear that it has no intention to hurt any religious belief, the panel said it had asked all States and UTs to consider remedial steps to prevent such pollution and educate and motivate people to switch over to environmental friendly methods of cremation.

“To begin with, electric/PNG crematoria can be set up as an option to the wood-based crematorium and if and to the extent people are persuaded to do so, a wood-based crematorium can be given a go by. The report does not show serious effort on this aspect,” it said.

“Authorities concerned may explore viability of electric/PNG crematorium alongside wood-based crematorium, in the interest of environment and also lesser cost for those who find it difficult to afford high cost of wood-based cremation. This aspect may be considered by authorities concerned of all States/UTs,” it said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Real Anchors Developers Pvt. Ltd relating to prevention of air pollution on account of dust and emissions during cremation in the context of a crematorium operating at Shakti Khand-4 in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.

The NGT directed the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam to expedite the process of remediating the legacy waste scientifically and to ensure prompt handling and disposal of current waste, ascertaining management status in terms of waste processing and resultant gap.

“The GDA and Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam may file their respective reports before the next date by email," the bench said.

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