The history behind how Paryavaran Mitra came to being started long back in 1996. Pollution from Gujarat Flurochemicals Ltd (GFL) became the reason to start environmental activism in organized manner in Gujarat. GFL manufactures refrigeration gases – HCFC22 in Ranjitnagar village in Ghoghamba Taluka of Panchmahal district since 1989. It is situated 160 km southwest of Ahmedabad. Industry was emitting fluoride in air, water, and ground, which was harmful and the impact was major. The ground water was also getting contaminated due to high levels of fluoride. Air emission had affected crops and other vegetation of surrounding farms. So farmers of the area approached Gujarat High Court to get justice and filed Public Interest Litigation vide no. SCA 5280/1995 against GFL.
Gujarat High Court directed the petitioner (village people) to constitute an expert committee to prove that the said adverse effects were created by GFL’s emissions. Village people with help of Center for Social Justice (CSJ) constituted an expert committee of four people. Expert Committee was of the opinion that pollution in the area was indeed due to GFL. After committee’s opinion High Court admitted the case but lack of scientific evidence weakened the case. So the High Court directed Gujarat Pollution Control Board to check pollution level of the industry and dispose off the case without any further directions.
During proceeding of this Public Interest Litigation it was realized that evidence was necessary in cases of pollution and its effects. People of that area, who were poor and victims of pollution failed to prove that pollution emanated by GFL Company had affected their water sources, crops and livelihood.
After the experience of this case a need was felt for an organization that can systematically work on environment related legal, social and human rights issues. Thus Paryavaran Mitra was born with the objective of creating network of grass root organizations working for environment, setting up monitoring mechanisms for developmental activities harming environment and violating environmental laws and creating awareness about environmental issues.
This case laid foundation of Paryavaran Mitra as an organization. After this case Paryavaran Mitra had started working formally as environmental organization in Gujarat. It was started as Enviro Legal cell of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) – Janvikas in 1997 and in 2001 it became an autonomous organization “Paryavaran Mitra” and continued to be part of Janvikas through governance and finance.
Only recently on May 1, 2015, it became autonomous organization with independent governance and finance; and got registered as trust with Regd No: E/20934/Ahmedabad.