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The Supreme Court today declined to interfere with the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which had directed the government to prohibit the use of drinking water prepared from water purifying RO machines failing specified TDS standards.
A group of RO machine manufacturers had approached the Supreme Court challenging this order. However, the Court declined to stay the NGT order. The Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman directed the petitioner group to make a representation before the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The Court further told the Centre to consider this representation and hold consultations before coming up with a notification on the issue.
In May this year, the NGT had directed the prohibition of drinking water produced by Reverse Osmosis/RO machines where the total dissolved solids (TDS) was less than 500 mg per litre of water.
The order was passed on May 28 this year in a plea by NGO Friends, through its General Secretary Sharad Tiwari. The NGO had moved the tribunal on the ground that the indiscriminate use of RO machines was leading to water wastage. The order was passed after examining a joint report prepared by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and IIT-Delhi this year, on the NGT’s directions.
Among the various directions passed by the NGT in its May order was:
“The MoEF&CC may issue appropriate notification prohibiting use of RO where TDS in water is less than 500 mg/l and wherever RO is permitted, a requirement is laid down for recovery of water be more than 60%. Further provision be laid down for recovery of water upto 75% and use of such RO reject water for purposes such as utensil washing, flushing, gardening, cleaning of vehicles and floor mopping.“
Earlier this month, the NGT had also reportedly pulled up the government over the delay in issuing the notification to prohibit the use of the RO machines failing the above standards.