The NGT on Friday asked the Environment and Forests Ministry to submit a list of recognised laboratories and analysts that monitor environment pollution and inform it about their functioning after a plea alleged the poor quality of data generated by them was compromising people's health.
NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment has complained to the National Green Tribunal that the environment data generated in the country lacks authenticity and are often fudged to suit requirements, making them ineffective in pollution mitigation.
The Central Pollution Control Board informed the NGT through a report that it conducts Analytical Quality Control (AQC) exercises to grant accreditation to such laboratories.
The tribunal, however, said the CPCB report is "silent" on the findings about the functioning of the laboratories and the level of accuracy of the reports furnished by these labs.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked the ministry to submit to it the details of the monitoring mechanism in place before February 4.
"AQC/Proficiency test must be conducted by CPCB at least once in two years with the participation of the concerned laboratories. For this purpose, CPCB is at liberty to engage appropriate manpower, including suitable retired personnel, utilising available environmental compensation fund. Further, a report in this regard may be filed by the CPCB before the next date (of hearing) by e-mail," the bench said.
The NGO, which has filed the plea, said one of the main reasons for generation of poor quality data and poor monitoring of the environment pollution is cost consideration. Explaining the issue, it said the cost incurred on the two vital works by green laboratories has been much lower than the actual cost incurred in monitoring environment, sampling data and analysing the same.
Referring to an RTI reply, the NGO said the task of monitoring quality of water from various sources like rivers, hand pumps and ground water, besides the air quality and hazardous ingredients of environment, are given to recognised private laboratories.
And the private labs are the ones which quote the minimum rate for the job, said the plea.
This often leads to manipulation of the baseline data, which undermines people's health, it alleged.
The NGO said there is a need to increase transparency and efficiency in the environment monitoring sector and this can be achieved by stringent monitoring and regulating the cost as per the CPCB schedule of rates.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)