Shimla, Apr 11
Un-planned development, industrialization and lack of environment policy in this hill state is posing a challenge to the clean environment and public health at large.
The Central Pollution Control Board has (CPCB) identified seven industrial areas and townships in the state where prescribed air quality was found below the standard and state authorities and industries are violating it .
CPCB placed seven townships in Non-attainment cities including Baddi, Nalagarh, Parwanoo, Kala Amb, Paonta Sahib, Sunder Nagar and Damtal.
According to the state pollution control board, the air quality index in these cities improved significantly in 2020-21, falling for instance from 104 to 75 in Kala- Amb, owning to lock-down impact.
This burning issue figured in the recent state budget session of the
assembly. Government in a written reply submitted that the policy to tackle the industrial pollution is “in process of finalization”.
Moreover state health department also admitted that 35 incidences of lung diseases or disorders and 14 cases of asthama have been reported in the last three years in areas lying within a radius of five kilometres from industries using pet coke as fuel.
The state was also cautioned by CPCB two yrs ago to address the issue of industrial pollution especially in regard to the two highly-polluting industrial fuels. However, it could not be compiled so far as Government is yet to finalize any policy with this respect.
To enforce fuel policy regarding the use of Pet coke and furnace oil in 2019, National Green Tribunal (NGT), also asked the CPCB, states and UTs to enforce this policies regarding the use of pet coke and furnace oil.
“Pet coke and furnace oil/fuel oil emit more sulphur dioxide as compared to other conventional fuels due to high sulphur content and also contribute to forming of finer secondary particulate matter in ambient air,” the CPCB had written to the states,
It is worthwhile to mention that supreme court had banned the use of the two fuels in the national
capital region in 2017. Later, the court requested all states to consider taking similar measures, and the NGT also passed similar directions.
Draft of state fuel policy stated that therw are 213 industrial units in the state which use either furnace oil or pet coke. However, the policy has still not been enforced by the state.
“Only once the fuel policy is notified by the government could we start implementing it in the state,”said a state pollution control board official.
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