Stepping up its war against pollution, the Supreme Court today said instead of various authorities submitting various reports to the court it was better for them to sit together and adopt an uniform and synchronized approach.
It asked Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi government, SC-appointed Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA)
Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to hold a meeting within two weeks and come out with a comprehensive plan to check pollution in Delhi and NCR region.
‘BAN PET COKE, FURNACE OIL’
Terming pet coke and furnace oil used by various industries as the single biggest source of pollution in Delhi and NCR, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to take a decision within four weeks on banning polluting fuels like furnace oil and pet coke used in industrial plants.
The order from the bench headed by justice Madan B Lokur came on the recommendation by expert body Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) Giving the order, the bench cited 3000 premature deaths in Delhi every year due to air pollution. It also referred to a Central Pollution Control Board study of 2008 which said one-third of delhi's children had lung problems
Although Delhi Pollution Control Committee had declared them as "unacceptable fuel" way back in 1996 but they are not banned outside Delhi borders and are being increasingly used by industries in the NCR, aggravating the pollution problem.
Emphasising that quality of fuel plays a critical role in quantum of pollution generated, EPCA members Sunita Narain and Anumita Roychowdhury of the Centre for Science and Environment had earlier informed the apex court that sulphur level in furnace oil and pet coke is multiple times higher as compared to other fuel.
"The key contaminant in fuel, responsible for high levels of pollution, is sulphur- this is emitted in the form of particulates and also in the form of gas, sulphur dioxide. It is for this reason India has moved from petrol/diesel with 10,000 ppm of sulphur in 1996 to 50 ppm in 2010 (to be extended nationwide in April 2017)," said its report filed in SC.
"Samples of pet coke used in the NCR contains sulphur levels between 69,000 ppm to 74,000 ppm and the level of sulphur in furnace oil is between 15,000 to 20,000 ppm," the report said.
Pleading for a blanket ban on polluting fuels, the authority said furnace oil being the last grade produced by refineries is extremely polluting and pet coke, a by-product of refineries, is even more polluting.
EPCA said its investigation had revealed that large quantities of furnace oil are being sold in Delhi and NCR by oil companies.
"All other fuels, which do not have specifications laid down by BIS should be banned for use in the NCR. Any new fuel to be added to the list of acceptable fuels will be done only after consideration of its parameters as laid down by BIS and fuel test reports by CPCB and EPCA," it said.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.