The Kerala government has been fined Rs 10 crore by the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for their inability to prevent the uncontrolled pollution of the designated Ramsar sites.
Why NGT slaps Penalty on Kerala Govt:
The order by NGT was made in lines with a petition alleging failure of statutory and administrative authorities in taking remedial action for protection of the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes hit by illegal waste dumping.
- The penalty was imposed on the basis of the ‘polluter pays principle’ which had to be deposited in a ring-fenced account to be operated under the authority of the Chief Secretary.
- The penalty of ?10 crore has been imposed which had to be made within a month.
- The penalty will be utilised for conservation/restoration measures by preparing an action plan to be preferably executed within six months.
About Vembanad Lake:
- This is the largest lake in Kerala and the longest Lake in India.
- The lake has its source in four rivers, Meenachil, Achankovil, Pampa and Manimala
- In 2002, it was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention.
- It is the second-largest Ramsar site in India only after the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
- The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake.
- In 2019, Willingdon Island, a seaport located in the city of Kochi, was carved out of Vembanad Lake.
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
It is a special body established under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010).
Aim: To effectively and expeditiously deal with cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
What is Ramsar Sites:
These are wetlands deemed to be of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in.
Ramsar sites are trans-boundary in which case more than one Contracting Party is responsible for their conservation and management.