HC To Invoke Polluter Pays Principle To Protect Gulmarg


SRINAGAR – Observing that Solid Waste Generation and its management in the Gulmarg area, a mountainous region, is extremely critical, Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday hinted at making large companies including multi-national ones, manufacturing chips, biscuits and soft drink cans, partners in addressing the problem under well-established principle of ‘Polluter Pays’.

“Both solid and liquid waste management creates huge problems,”a bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar observed as Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority, who was present in the court, informed that a large percentage of the Solid Waste which is generated, is on account of the wrappers and containers of chips, biscuits, other snacks and soft drink cans which are manufactured by Multinational Companies.

“These wrappers and containers are made from non-biodegradable material including metal, aluminum foil, and plastics etc. The other large component of solid waste generated is plastic waste from the plastic bottles used to market water, soft drinks etc,” the CEO said.

He informed the court that these products are manufactured by large companies including multi-national companies.

“Having regard to the well-established principle of environmental jurisprudence, that is “the polluter pays” principle for the cost of the environmental degradation, we see no reason as to why the manufacturers of these items which are packed in polluting material do not contribute to the reduction of the Solid Wastes in the mountainous as well as the management of the Solid Waste which is generated,” the court said, adding, “There is no reason as to why all these companies should not be called upon to utilize the statutory mandated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), allocations towards the pollution which is being generated in Kashmir because of their activity.”

The court also directed the CEO to identify all these companies and evaluate a mechanism by which these polluting companies can be called upon to contribute to the Waste Management in the Gulmarg. “(The CEO) may join the Secretary of the District State Legal Services Authority in the conceptualization of the programme as well as the implementation thereof.”

Meanwhile, the division bench asked the court Commissioner to submit inspection of the property as has been conducted by them. “Let the report be filed within ten days positively.”

The Court Commissioner, the division bench said, shall also place a soft copy of the report with the Registrar Judicial. “It shall be open for the parties to obtain copies thereof from the Registrar Judicial on payment of expenses,” the division bench while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, seeking protection and preservation of the Gulmarg, the world famous skiing resort.

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