The National Green Tribunal has directed the Environment and Forest Ministry to not grant clearance to any new thermal power plant till they achieve the standards set out by its 2015 notification.
The ruling came after the tribunal heard a plea alleging that many of the thermal plants were violating norms and causing pollution. The bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi stated that the failure of the thermal power plants to adopt techniques to reduce emissions would have an adverse impact on the environment.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by activist Sunil Dahiya, seeking direction from the Environment Ministry and the environmental impact assessment authorities of all states to ensure that all new approvals comply with the standards provided in the December 7, 2015 notification.
According to the plea, the ministry had circulated the notification to bring about a reduction in air pollution and water consumption by thermal power plants across the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had on December 7, 2015 issued a notification revising the standards for coal-based thermal power plants across the country, with the aim to reduce water consumption and cut emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.
The Ministry had given the power plants a deadline of December 2017 to install appropriate mechanisms and technologies to cut emissions.