Uttar Pradesh notifies new emission norms, experts say crucial to increase staff strength of watchdogs

Published on Mar 11, 2020 11:35 PM IST
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ByKushagra Dixit, Noida

In a bid to curb air, land and water pollution in the region, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Noida and the Gautam Budh Nagar administration on Friday officially imposed new and stringent emission standards for industries.

The new norms, will, however, be applicable only on new industrial units or older units that go for expansion and not on existing small, medium and large industrial units operational across the city, officials said.

“A meeting was held in this regard. The order has come into force. It will be applicable only on new industries or older ones that go for project expansion. Different departments are involved in the process, like forest department to ensure greenery in industrial clusters. The new norms require dumping of industrial waste such as fly ash at specific designated places approved by UPPCB,” said Anil Kumar Singh, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.

With the new norms, particulate pollutants, emitted mostly from standard boilers that use fuel such as coal or straw, wood chips or other biomass fuel, would be more than halved, while additional greenery has been ordered for industrial areas.

“There are only two operational boilers in the region that use coal; others have been upgraded to boilers that use other fuels. However, the new standards will apply on all to control particulate emissions. Industries will be encouraged to use Compressed Natural Gas or Piped Natural Gas. They will have to install air pollution control systems like venturi scrubber or bag filter to meet the standards,” Singh said.

For the industries discharging effluents that often reach rivers through drains, the new standards focus on norms such as biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS).

According to environmentalists, however, implementation of the new standards will be a challenge for the pollution control boards.

“It is great that new emission standards have been implemented. However, they are applicable on new industries and there few new industries are coming up due to several reasons. Secondly and most important, focus needs to be on augmentation of the strength and monitoring capacities of our pollution control boards,” said Akash Vashistha, a Ghaziabad-based environmentalist.

Considering that the quality of ‘ground water’ is also affected due to industrial effluents, the new norms make it mandatory to monitor the same.

“Monitoring ground water quality shall be ensured in the pre- and post-monsoon season in and around industry premises by laboratories approved by Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,” the order said.

District magistrate Gautam Budh Nagar BN Singh said,“These new norms will control pollution in the air, land and water, and are applicable only on new industries or expansion projects. I have held a meeting with representatives from industries and trying to circulate the new order as much as we can. The industries will have to implement it voluntarily or else we will impose it legally.”

According to recent reports, Noida is one of the most polluted cities across the country as well as the globe. Noida is one of the 13 industrial clusters of Uttar Pradesh that fall under seriously polluted areas (SPA), with total 80 red category and 600 orange category industries.

The ‘red’ category includes industrial sectors that have a pollution index score of 60 or above. The ‘red’ category units are those engaged in at least 60 different processes such as storage of hazardous chemicals, hazardous waste recycling, pulp and paper, coke among others. Likewise, industrial sectors that have a pollution index score of 41 to 59 are categorised under the ‘orange’ category. These are categorised on the basis of 83 different processes, such as coal washeries, scrap, ceramics and glass, among others.

With a number of industrial clusters dumping waste openly in Noida, the new norms make it mandatory to dispose of such industrial and hazardous waste through authorised recyclers or incinerators only.

“More stringent conditions shall be made applicable for the management of hazardous waste on a case to case basis. Monitoring of compliance of EC conditions shall be submitted with third party audit every year,” said the UPPCB memorandum. It said the percentage of corporate environment responsibility (CER) will be increased by at least 1.5 times.

The move comes after the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MOEFCC) in March 2016 came up with revised categorisation of industries. However, the process to implement the norms was initiated only after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an order in August 2019.

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