09 December, 2019
Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Prelims and Mains focus: About pyrolysis and the environmental concerns associated with it, about CPCB and NGT
News: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of the workers employed.
As of 201617, official estimates indicate 127.34 million tyres were produced in India, which was seen to be a 12% increase from the previous year. A 37% increase in the tyre production has been observed in the twowheeler segment, a 23% increase in the tractor segment and 16% in the passenger car/jeep segment. India discards about 100 million tyres everyday and only a fraction of it is recycled. India is also responsible for 6% of the global tyre waste, according to a 2017 report by environmentalist group Chintan.
The National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions. The authority asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to look at ways to dispose used tyres safely.
Subsequently, the board issued a set of guidelines, in which pyrolysis was recommended as an acceptable mode.
More than 40% of tyre pyrolysis units were not complying with rules, the NGT observed in April 2019, after it sought a report from the CPCB. The CPCB reported that there were 637 units in 19 States of which 251 units were compliant, 270 non-compliant and 116 were closed.
Tyre pyrolysis refers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250 degree C and 500 degree C, produce liquid oil and gases.
While this is considered a safer technique than burning tyres, pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyrogas and oil as residue and the inadequate management of these byproducts poses health risks.
Legal jurisdiction of NGT:
The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These include the following:
1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977; (yes, cess act)
3. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
4. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
5. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; (aka EPA)
6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991; (good option to confuse)
7. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Note: The NGT has not been vested with powers to hear any matter relating to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and various laws enacted by States relating to forests, tree preservation etc. Therefore, specific and substantial issues related to these laws cannot be raised before the NGT.
Principles of Justice adopted by NGT:
Review and Appeal:
Orders can be appealed to the Supreme Court within 90 days.
Source: The Hindu
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