NGT refuses review of order to prohibit RO purifiers

NEW DELHI, Aug 25:
The National Green Tribunal has refused to review its order directing the government to prohibit RO purifiers in regions where total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration in water is below 500 mg per litre and sensitise the public about the ill-effects of demineralised water.
TDS comprises inorganic salts as well as small amounts of organic matter. As per a WHO study, TDS levels below 300 mg per litre are considered to be excellent, while 900 mg per litre is said to be poor and above 1200 mg is unacceptable.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from water by using pressure to force molecules through a semipermeable membrane.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said there is no error apparent on the face of the record in its May 20 order that requires any modification or review as sought by the review petitioner.
The tribunal said it had heard the counsel appearing for the parties, including the counsel appearing for the review petitioner, before passing the order.
“This tribunal has only considered the scientific aspects mentioned in the report submitted by the expert committee appointed by this tribunal on this aspect and accepted the report and directed the authorities to issue necessary directions on the basis of the recommendations.
“Even along with the review petition, no acceptable documents have been produced by the review petitioner to show that any modification is required in the order passed or the recommendations of the committee or findings of the committee are erroneous so as to review the order as requested by the petitioner,” the bench said.
The green panel said the plea filed by the Water Quality India Association, seeking review of its May 20 order, lacks merit and is liable to be dismissed.
The review petition alleged that the tribunal had appointed an expert committee to consider the question as to how far the wastage of water in RO system can be controlled and the expert committee had submitted a report through email.
The copy of the report was obtained by the advocate for the review petitioner on May 20 when the case was posted for consideration of the report, it said.
“Though time was sought for filing objection, the same has not been considered by the tribunal and passed the impugned order accepting the report noting that there was no objection filed to the report hence the review petition,” it said.
The tribunal had passed the May 20 order after perusing a report of a committee formed by it, and gave the directions to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
The committee had said that if TDS is less than 500 milligrams per litre, RO system will not be useful but will result in removing important minerals as well as cause undue wastage of water.
It had also directed the expert committee constituted by it along with Central Ground Water Authority to collect and provide data with regard to availability of ground water and its usage in 21 cities mentioned in the report of NITI Aayog and furnish a report to this tribunal within a month.
The NGT had said that remedial measures are necessary for preventing unnecessary wastage of potable water on account of use of RO systems and there is also need for directing the local bodies concerned to display water quality data regarding TDS concentration component. (PTI)