Even three years after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ordered the closure of tyre pyrolysis units – highly polluting factories that recycle tyres – as many as 19 such units have been operating in Karnataka in continuous violation of rules.
The big picture: In 2019, the CPCB issued closure orders to 270 such units in the country which failed to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP).
Why it matters: Such factories recycle tyres to produce tyre pyrolysis oil – which is used as fuel in cement, ceramic, and other industries – pyro gas, carbon black and other materials. Combustion of discarded tyres is required to make these products. Such combustion leads to the production of carcinogenic gases like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons besides toxic smoke.
WHY THE DELAY?
The CPCB had entrusted the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) with the enforcement of rule in the state.
However, as per a recent report by the board, of the 34 centres in Karnataka, 19 are yet to comply with the order. As many as 12 of these complied with the SOP, while three factories shut down, Deccan Herald reported.
Officials in KSPCB attributed the delay in action to the COVID-19 pandemic. KSPCB chairman Shanth A Thimmaiah said that strict action against polluters has been initiated ever since he took over in November 2021.
“We have issued closure orders to eight pyrolysis units. In Humnabad, I personally oversaw the closure of some of the units for failure to comply with environmental norms."KSPCB chairman Shanth A Thimmaiah to Deccan Herald
Further, Thimmaiah also attributed the delay to the long procedure the KSPCB has to follow.
“I am not aware of developments in cases prior to the time I took over. Since last year, however, we have been cracking down on polluters. In fact, over the last few days, I issued notices to three units. They have been called for a public hearing,” he added.
NEW RULE INTRODUCED TO MONITOR INDUSTRIES
Industries are classified as green, orange, and red based on the pollution they cause.
Thimmaiah informed that the state pollution board has introduced a major reform in monitoring these industries.
Based on their category, industries were given several years to file compliance reports:
Red industries (tyre pyrolysis units) - five years
Orange industries - 10 years
Green industries - 15 years
Thimmaiah was quoted as saying, “We have changed the rules now. Regardless of the category, industries have to file a half-yearly compliance report. This will be followed by random inspections to ensure that we are getting the correct information. This process is already giving results."
(With inputs from Deccan Herald.)