The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to regulate import of waste tyres for use in pyrolysis industry so that India does not become a dump yard for highly polluting hazardous waste material from other countries.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said pyrolysis process involves high levels of pollution and also adversely affects the health of workers involved in the process.
"The matter being covered by the Hazardous Waste Management Rules, there is need for restrictions on import and to regulate location of such units in the light of the carrying capacity of the area.
"Accordingly, the CPCB may issue appropriate directions on the subject after due consideration of the issue. The directions should also deal with the restrictions on import so as to ensure that India does not become a dump yard for highly polluting hazardous waste material from other countries and also to ensure that health of the workers involved in the process is duly safeguarded," the bench said.
During the hearing, a CPCB report dated on July 31, 2019, was submitted to the bench stating that there are 637 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 states of the country.
"Out of 637 tyre pyrolysis units, 251 units are complying, 270 units are not complying and 116 units are closed. In most of the cases, it was observed that the reason of non-compliance is not meeting the criteria of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of Ministry of Environment and Forests and the consent conditions issued by the state pollution control boards. In case of non-compliance, action has been initiated in the form of closure directions," the report said.
Noting the submission, the tribunal said the states where such 270 non-complying units are located need to take remedial action including levy of environmental compensation to ensure that such units comply with air, water and hazardous waste pollution norms within a reasonable time span.
"Let CPCB monitor the compliance and file the status and compliance report on or before November 30 by e-mail," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by an NGO -- Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) -- seeking complete ban of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) in pyrolysis industries due to non-implementation of the existing laws resulting in adverse environmental impact.
According to the plea, use of waste tyres by the pyrolysis industry operating in the country which are engaged in producing inferior quality pyrolysis oil, pyrolysis gas (pyro gas), solid residue (char), carbon black and steel through the pyrolysis process needs to be banned to prevent environmental damage.
The activity emits highly carcinogenic/cancer-causing pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dioxin, furans and oxides of nitrogen which are extremely harmful to the respiratory system.
"Direct the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the CPCB and the state pollution control boards in consultation with other scientific agencies to develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure that waste tyres imported in the country are verified through scientific means and through a robust monitoring framework," the plea had said.
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