477 industries in NCR to remain shut till December 12 for not using cleaner fuel

According to industry owners, shutting industries even for four days takes a toll on both businesses and production
Ghaziabad has the maximum share of polluting industries. Of the 500 air polluting industries in Ghaziabad, 421 industries are still using coal for their operations. (Sakib ali/HT photo)
Ghaziabad has the maximum share of polluting industries. Of the 500 air polluting industries in Ghaziabad, 421 industries are still using coal for their operations. (Sakib ali/HT photo)
Published on Dec 09, 2021 12:18 AM IST
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BySnehil Sinha

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on late Tuesday night passed an order to keep all industries in the National Capital Region (NCR), which have not switched to the usage of piped natural gas (PNG), shut till December 12. A total of 477 industries in Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed for four days starting from Thursday.

Ghaziabad has the maximum share of polluting industries. Of the 500 air polluting industries in Ghaziabad, about 80 have either switched to the usage of cleaner fuel like PNG or don’t have the infrastructure for the supply of the fuel in their area yet. The rest 421 industries are still using coal for their operations and hence, will remain closed.

There are 10 such polluting industries in Noida, which will stay shut.

In Greater Noida, there are 151 polluting industries and a power plant. Of these, 51 use PNG and another 54 use a combination of PNG and coal. There are still 46 industries in Greater Noida, which will stay closed.

According to Utsav Sharma, regional officer of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Ghaziabad, said the polluting industries in Noida are mostly related to textile and engineering as well as forging and metallurgy.

“These are various types of industries in Greater Noida. Most of these industries deal with furnaces, paper, rice mills and textile. The information was conveyed through emails and Whatsapp groups today (Wednesday) and we are ensuring compliance,” said B P Yadav, regional officer, UPPCB, Greater Noida.

While the order came in late on Tuesday night, it was passed on to the concerned stakeholders on Wednesday, which leaves just four more days for authorities to implement the order and keep industries shut. The order does mention that it will be reviewed further, but four days still seems to be very little to have any major impact on the pollution levels. Experts and industries questioned the logic of implementing the extreme measure in just four days.

According to industry owners, shutting industries even for four days takes a toll on both businesses and production worth thousands of crores.

“All industries follow the pollution norms and file compliances regularly. However, shutting industries delays domestic supply as well as export orders and leads to non-productive man hours, which impacts the overall growth of the economy. Eventually, the entire production line is disturbed. Contacts in Faridabad’s textile industries said export orders worth thousands of crores are on hold,” said Rajiv Arora, general secretary, Industrial Area Manufacturers Association, Ghaziabad.

Meanwhile, even before the non-compliant industries could be shut down, pollution levels reduced substantially since Tuesday. Experts said that this is mainly because of good wind speed in the past two days. The AQI across NCR has seen a decline since December 6.

In Ghaziabad, the AQI of 293 recorded on December 6 fell to 235 on December 7 and further to 229 on December 8.

In Greater Noida, the AQI drastically improved from 300 on December 6 to 174 on December 7 and fell further to 154 on December 8.

The drop in pollution levels has been steeper in Noida where the AQI of 317 (‘very poor’ category) recorded on December 6 fell to 186 (moderate) on Wednesday.

“The improvement in air quality is the result of better wind speed since Tuesday. The wind improved further on Wednesday morning, which helped improve the AQI across NCR. It is a natural environmental phenomenon and cannot be attributed to any of the steps we have taken locally,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer of UPPCB, Noida.

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