Waste of water by RO purifiers for the commercial benefit of companies should be verified: NGT
The enormous waste of water in using reverse osmosis purifiers solely to promote the commercial interest of companies at the expense of the public interest needs to be verified, the National Green Tribunal said.
He ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) to issue a notice without delay banning reverse osmosis purifiers when the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water is below 500 milligrams per liter.
The green sign said it was not expected that the MoEF would take years to finalize the case and seek repeated adjournments and extensions, which is contrary to the rule of law.
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“It can be noted that Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), requiring RO (treatment), are found in groundwater. Considering the enormous waste of water as wastes in the use of RO, such use does not only to promote commercial interests at the cost of the loss of precious water which must be verified. This goal is overcome by undue delay of the MoEF.
“This amounts to acting against the best interests of the environment. Instead of allowing ORs, conductivity and TDS in water can be regulated and monitored by coordinating relevant regulators – MoJS with agencies providing water. ‘water like PHED / Water supply and sanitation / Municipal body / Jal Nigam etc. saving a huge amount of water which is unduly wasted in the process of using ORs against the public interest, ”said NGT.
A bench led by NGT chairman Judge Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered the MoEF to ensure that actions continue before the next date, regardless of actions taken by any other department that may delay the case.
He warned that in the event of failure, NGT would have no choice but to personally take coercive measures against the officers concerned.
“The secretary of the MoEF is responsible for identifying the relevant negotiating agents and informing them of this order. Their names must be provided to this tribunal by the next date so that they can be held accountable for upholding the public interest and the rule of law. Said the bench.
In July last year, the NGT ordered the MoEF to issue a notice by the end of the year banning reverse osmosis purifiers when the level of TDS in the water is below 500 milligrams per liter. .
The court had given the MoEF more time after advising the court that the exercise could not be completed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In January 2020, the ministry requested four months to execute the NGT order.
The MoEF, in its plea, had said that four months were needed for effective compliance with the ordinance – two for wide dissemination of the draft notification inviting comments and two for incorporation of comments, finalization of the notification and obtaining approval from the Ministry of Law and Justice. .
The case is scheduled for the next hearing on January 25.
The NGT had, at the last hearing date, castigated the ministry for the delay in issuing the notification and warned the officer concerned of the cessation of his salary.
The court had previously said its order was based on a report from a panel of experts, which also included a representative of the MEF, and is enforceable without permission from any other authority with criminal consequences.
In an effort to regulate the use of reverse osmosis purifiers, the NGT ordered the government to ban them where TDS is less than 500 mg per liter and to raise public awareness of the harms of demineralized water.
The court also called on the government to make compulsory the collection of more than 60% water wherever RO is allowed across the country.
TDS is made up of inorganic salts as well as small amounts of organic material. According to a WHO study, TDS levels below 300 mg per liter are considered excellent, while 900 mg per liter are considered low and above 1,200 mg are unacceptable.
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from the water by using pressure to force molecules through a semi-permeable membrane.
The order came after hearing a report from an expert committee that if the TDS is less than 500 milligrams per liter, an RO system will not be useful but will result in the removal of important minerals and a excessive waste of water.
The court heard a plea filed by the NGO Friends seeking to conserve drinking water by preventing its wastage due to the unnecessary use of reverse osmosis systems.