Environment body exploring ways to stop entry of polluting Indonesia coal into Delhi
With the Delhi government banning the use of coal in the national Capital, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is concerned with the influx of coal imported from Indonesia and the US. This coal has high sulphur content and triggers heavy air pollution when burned.
In a meeting held last week, EPCA asked officials of Coal India Limited to suggest how the supply of coal to Delhi-based traders could be restricted.
The court-appointed body will also discuss with the shipping ministry and directorate general of foreign trade on how to check the entry of imported coal to Delhi. “The use of coal has been banned in Delhi but we were informed in a recent meeting that imported Indonesian and US coal was still reaching NCR and Delhi. They are mainly coming from the Kandla port in Gujarat. They have high sulphur content and we have to find ways to check their entry to Delhi,” said Sunita Narain, member of EPCA.
The Delhi environment department had published a list of approved fuels on June 29 this year in which the use of coal was banned.
Only thermal power plants have been allowed to use coal that has sulphur content less than 0.4%. Industries have been asked to shift to piped natural gas by September-end.
Indonesian coal has a sulphur content of 8% - 9%. This means if used, they would produce huge amounts of sulphur dioxide.
“We have asked Coal India to explore ways on how to restrict the entry of coal to Delhi. One of the suggestions that have come up is to refuse supply of coal to any trader whose address shows that he is based in Delhi,” said an EPCA member.
But after Coal India officials claimed that they are not a part of the supply chain when it comes to imported coal, EPCA is now exploring ways on how to stop its entry to Delhi.
“We are not sure as to how the supply chain of imported coal works. We are exploring ways on how to check coal coming from ports. We might have to discuss it with the directorate general of foreign trade and the shipping ministry,” said an EPCA member.
HT had earlier reported that bunker oil – one of the most polluted fuels in the world and used by ships – was allegedly being used by industries in the National Capital Region to replace banned furnace oil, EPCA was warned.
A senior official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said coal was largely used by industries and power plants.
“But the use has gone down over the years. While industries are now shifting to PNG, the use of coal has also come down in houses because of LPG. Some small-time traders such as dhabas, restaurants, and those who iron clothes have been exempted and they could use charcoal,” said a DPCC official.