Toxic waste: A road-widening project in J&K has led to the dumping of construction waste in the nearby Tawi and Chenab rivers. Photo: Money-control

J&K highway widening project: Set aside ₹129 cr to restore environmental damage, NGT tells NHAI

India’s green court directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to set aside ₹129 crore to restore the damage done to the environment during the expansion of the highway in between Udhampur and Banihal town in Jammu and Kashmir. There have been several reports of dumping of construction waste in the nearby Tawi and Chenab rivers. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked NHAI to reverse the damage based on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.   

Centre seeks to allow exploratory oil & natural gas drilling in inter-tidal areas of CRZs

The Centre is seeking to allow exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas in the inter-tidal areas of coastal regulation zones (CRZ). It is also proposing letting gas-based power plants work in similar such areas on islands. These proposals were part of three draft notifications that the Union government is now seeking public responses on. The public has 60 days to respond. According to experts, these proposals are likely to negatively impact these fragile areas. They said the wording of these amendments relegates local communities to just respondents rather than partners in coastal development.  

IMO meeting: Countries urge ship operators to switch to cleaner fuels in the Arctic
At the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting held this past fortnight, countries urged ship operators to transition to cleaner fuels in the Arctic. This was part of a larger resolution to cut black carbon emissions from ships, which has increased substantially in the Arctic. While campaigners were happy with the move, they said it was still a voluntary measure and that governments must set supportive policies. Countries were expected to strengthen their maritime climate goal at the IMO meeting, but instead deferred a decision until 2023 when the UN shipping body is set to review its long-term strategy.

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