During the years that followed, a courtroom was set aside every Friday just for Mehta’s cases. In 1993, after a decade of court battles and threats from factory owners, the Supreme Court ordered 212 small factories surrounding the Taj Mahal to close because they had not installed pollution control devices. Another 300 factories were put on notice to do the same. The Ganges cases continued to be heard every week, and 5,000 factories along the river were directed to install pollution control devices and 300 factories were closed. Approximately 250 towns and cities in the Ganges Basin have been ordered to set up sewage treatment plants.
Mehta has won additional precedent-setting suits against industries that generate hazardous waste and succeeded in obtaining a court order to make lead-free gasoline available. He has also been working to ban intensive shrimp farming and other damaging activities along India’s 7,000 kilometer coast.
Mehta has succeeded in getting new environmental policies initiated and has brought environmental protection into India’s constitutional framework. He has almost single-handedly obtained about 40 landmark judgments and numerous orders from the Supreme Court against polluters, a record that may be unrivaled by any other environmental lawyer in the world.
Mehta is currently working with the M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation, an NGO that provides training programs for aspiring environmental attorneys and runs numerous environmental justice campaigns.