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NGT Addresses Fish Population Imbalance in Yamuna

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently taken cognizance of the threat to dolphins in the Ganga River and the decrease in the Indian fish population, coupled with an increase in the foreign fish population in the Yamuna River.

A bench comprising Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava, judicial member Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, and expert member Dr. A Senthil Vel observed that both issues indicate violations of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and the Environment Protection Act.

Based on News Articles

The matters were filed based on news articles. The first article was based on a survey conducted by the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Prayagraj (CIFRI) in 2021 to identify the species of fish present in the Yamuna River. A five-member team conducted a three-year survey and found that the population of Indian fish species had decreased in the Yamuna, coinciding with an increase in the population of foreign fish species.

While the second article focused on the dwindling numbers of the Gangetic dolphin in the Ganga River.

According to the article, the Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), endemic to the Ganga River, plays a crucial role in stabilizing the ecosystem, regulating the energy flow of the river, and maintaining fish and crustacean populations. It stated that the dolphin population has dwindled in recent years, especially in the upstream stretches of the river, with estimates pegging their numbers between 2,500 and 5,000.

NGT Issues Notices to Relevant Authorities

The NGT observed that both articles raised substantial issues regarding compliance with environmental norms and the implementation of the provisions of scheduled enactments. Accordingly, it issued notices to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), CIFRI, and the District Collector of Agra concerning the fish population in the Yamuna. This matter will be considered further on September 20.

Notice was issued to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and CPCB in the matter related to the threat to the Gangetic Dolphin.

The matter is scheduled for further hearing on September 24, 2024.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte