NGT Takes Suo Motu Cognizance of Heavy Metal Contamination in Bengaluru Vegetables

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Published on: November 24, 2023 at 00:45 IST

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has initiated suo motu proceedings in response to alarming reports of vegetables in Bengaluru being contaminated with heavy metals.

The Tribunal took notice of an article published by One India, highlighting a study conducted by the Environment Managemental and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI).

The study revealed contamination levels that surpass the permissible limits set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

The news report indicated that vegetables cultivated using wastewater exhibited elevated levels of heavy metals.

Iron concentration was nearly double the acceptable limit, and coriander and spinach showed alarming levels of Cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, at 52.30 mg per kg compared to the permissible limit of 0.2 mg per kg. Nickel content in some vegetables exceeded 67.9 mg per kg.

In response to an advance notice, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) submitted a brief report referring to EMPRI’s study. The report emphasized the need for a comprehensive, statewide study to understand the extent and sources of vegetable contamination.

A bench comprising Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava and expert member Dr. A Senthil Vel acknowledged the gravity of the environmental issue raised in the report. As a result, the NGT included the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), KSPCB, and EMPRI as respondents in the case.

The NGT directed the CPCB to verify the factual position and scrutinize the EMPRI study. Additionally, it mandated the submission of a factual status report and an action taken report to the Southern Bench of the NGT.

The CPCB was instructed to collect vegetable samples and analyze them for individual heavy metals and pesticide parameters in its Central Laboratory in Delhi, following standard methods.

The Southern Bench of the NGT is set to further deliberate on the matter on January 10, 2024.

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