National Green Tribunal


National Green Tribunal | While dealing a matter related to absence of proper management of end-of-life tyres/waste tyres (ELTs), a bench comprising of Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member), JJ., and A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member) held that Tyre Pyrolysis Oil units (TPOs) need to follow ‘zero liquid’ and ‘zero emission’ norms and the carbon produced during the process needs to be utilized in cement industries rather than simply transported to landfills.

Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), an environmental protection organization filed an application before the Tribunal complaining about the absence of proper management of ELTs.

Vide order dated 19-09-2019, the Tribunal considered the report by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) where it was suggested that “non complying units should take specified measures viz. those following ‘batch process’ should switch over to ‘continuous process’, feed to the continuous reactors should be in the form of tyre chips and mechanical feeding system should have air lock arrangements so that no air enters in the reactors.” The report also suggested that packed bed scrubber should be installed for control of gaseous emission and reduction of odour and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) for continuous process and the consent conditions issued by SPCBs/PCCs should be strictly followed by Tyre Pyrolysis Units. The Tribunal ordered remedial action against non-compliant units which included a levy of compensation under the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.

Vide directions dated 04-10-2019 and 30-12-2019, the CPCB directed the SPCBs/PCCs to close down non-compliant units in order to maintain vigilance and to monitor compliance. The CPCB on 23-10-2021 submitted the study report and action taken report and vide order dated 25-10-2021, the Tribunal accepted the observations and recommendations of CPCB’s report. The Tribunal also directed further study on the issues related to necessary action for ensuring compliance of norms.

Incompliance with Tribunal’s order, the CPCB submitted its report dated 05-11-2022 consisting of the status of all Tyre Pyrolysis Units in the State and UT based on information furnished by the SPCBs.

The report compiled a compliance report of 17 states where Tyre Pyrolysis Units exist and out of 757 units, 349 units are complying with consent conditions and SOP of MoEF&CC and 216 units are non-compliant. Closure directions and show cause notices have been issued against the non-complying units. Many of the non-complying units have been closed and around 192 TPO units have been closed.

The Tribunal observed that gaps are still there regarding action taken against non-compliant units and units against whom action was taken to close them till compliance, even after taking against number of non-complaint units. The Tribunal stated that “Such gaps need to be bridged at the earliest in the interest of rule of law and environmental good governance.”

The Tribunal directed that TPOs are required to follow ‘Zero Liquid’ and ‘Zero Emission’ norms and instead of transporting the carbon produced during the pyrolysis process to landfills, the same needs to be utilised in the cement industry.

The Tribunal directed the immediate closure of non-compliant units.

“…we direct that non-compliant units be closed till compliance expeditiously. CPCB may finalize the classification of the units so that application norms can be enforced.”

The Tribunal further directed the CPCB and MOEF&CC to finalise a revised standard operating procedure (SOP) for the TPOs within one month and stated that “SOP may also provide for certifying the fuel quality standards of pyro-oil as per norms of the Petroleum Ministry.”

[Social Action for Forest & Environment (SAFE) v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine NGT 258, decided on 07-11-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Sanjay Upadhyay, Counsel for the Applicant;

Mr. Raj Kumar (Advocate) and Mr. Anand Kumar (Scientist E), Counsel for CPCB;

Mr. Saurabh Kulkarni, Counsel for Association of Rubber & Tyre Recycling Industries.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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