The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Centre to list out steps it proposes to take for controlling pollution caused by plastic products and human defecation around railway tracks.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed Ministry of Railways, Railway Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and others to file a reply within two weeks.
"We direct the respondents to specifically state in their replies and place policy or other relevant documents on record to show as to what steps they propose to take for the purpose of preventing and controlling the pollution caused by throwing of Municipal Solid Waste particularly plastic products on and around railway tracks as well as use of the tracks or adjacent for human evacuation.
"It will also be indicated as to how the respondents propose to protect the railway tracks to ensure that such pollution, which is causing serious environmental hazards, is not permitted in future," the bench said, and listed the matter for next hearing on September 15.
The Tribunal was hearing a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania seeking a blanket ban on use and sale of plastic products on railway platforms across the country besides a ban on open defecation by people around tracks.
The petitioners have alleged that the activity of dumping plastic waste and discharging human waste on tracks was adversely affecting the ecosystem.
The petitioners also sought appointment of a committee consisting of eminent environmental activists, experts, lawyers, etc to study the impact of such activities.
"Direct the respondents to form a task force to look after proper disposal of plastic and human waste already generated on the railway tracks so that there is no further degradation of environment," the plea said.