The Policy Statement on Pollution was announced in February 1392. The key elements for pollution prevention and adoption of the best available methods are clean and practicable technologies rather than end of the pipe treatment. The focus is on reduction of pollution and substitution of chemicals, by safe alternatives.
Action has, therefore been taken for needed process changes which involve significant improvements in energy and water conservation. As a follow-up on the various issues covered in the policy statement for Abatement of Pollution, the National Conservation Strategy and the Forest Policy Settlement, several new programmes and studies have been initiated.
An Environment Action Programme now covers a wide range of subjects such as clean and low- waste technologies, improvement of water quality, institutional and human resources development, forestry and natural resources accounting.
To integrate natural resources accounting into the national accounting process, collection and analysis of environmental data have been started recently. It is proposed to produce a computerized map of the critically polluted areas through digitization, on a format based on Geographic Information System.
Base thematic maps on 1.6 m scale have been prepared for the country on the following themes : (i) major river basins and drainage networks; (ii) administrative divisions; (iii) designed best use classification of streams; (iv) location or water and air pollution monitoring stations; (v) location of critically polluted areas; and (vi) major cities of India (above one lakh population).
Industries in India are expected to prepare environmental reports. Model environment reports for six categories of industries have already been prepared. A booklet titled “Environment Statement as part of environment Audit” has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment.
A software package ‘Paryawaran’ has been prepared for analysis of information submitted in these environment reports and distributed to all the State Pollution Control Boards.
An “Eco-mark” label has been introduced to label consumer products that are environment friendly. Sixteen products have been identified for labeling and standardization for toilet soaps and detergents, paper, paints, architectural paints and laundry soaps have been notified for marking this label.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)/ Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) is the authorized agency for labeling. So far one license has been granted by the BIS to a product under the soaps category.
In small scale industries cleaner technologies are being adopted for extending technical support. Training and awareness programmes for personnel are being taken up in Small Industry Development Organization.
Entrepreneurs are being organized with the help of manual “From Waste to Profits” giving guidelines for waste minimization. Sector specific manuals on waste minimization in respect of pulp and paper, pesticides formulations and textiles dyeing and printing have been already prepared.
Waste Minimization Circles (WMCs) are being established to promote group efforts in increasing productivity and improving the environmental conditions in small and medium scale industries through adoption of waste minimization techniques.
A major programme for improvement of automotive fuels such as motor gasoline and diesel is being introduced in the country in a phased manner, with the objective of improving the air quality of the cities of our country.
Low lead petrol (0.15 gms/litre lead content) was introduced at all retail outlets of the country from 1 April 1996. Unleaded petrol was also made available in selected retail outlets of the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai from 1 April 1995.
High Sulphur Diesel containing 0.5 percent sulphur has also been introduced in the four metro cities and in the Taj Trapezium area from 1 April 1996. A ‘Vehicular Pollution Control Mission’ was launched in Delhi to control Pollution from on road vehicles.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the national apex body for assessment, monitoring and control of water and air pollution. The executive responsibilities for enforcement of the Acts for Prevention and Control of Pollution of Water (1974) and Air (1981) and also of the Water (Cess) Act, 1977 are carried out through the Board.
Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, effluent and emission standards in respect of 61 categories of industries have been notified.
Seventeen categories of heavily polluting industries have been identified: cement, thermal power plants, distilleries, sugar, fertilizer, integrated, iron and steel, oil refineries, pulp and paper, petrochemicals, pesticides, tanneries, basic drugs and pharmaceuticals, dye and dye intermediates, caustic soda, zinc smelter, copper smelter and aluminum smelter.
Out of a total of 1,551 units listed under these 17 categories, 1,220 units have installed facilities for pollution control and 111 units had to be closed down.
The central Pollution Control Board in consultation with State Pollution Control Boards has listed 22 polluted areas in the country which need special attention.
These are Vapi (Gujrat), Singrauli (UP), Korba, Ratlam, Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Digboi (Assam), Talcher (Orissa), Bhadravati (Kamataka), Howrah (West Bengal), Dhanbad (Bihar), Pali and jodhpur (Rajasthan), Manali and North Arcot (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam and Patancheru (Andhra Pradesh), Chembur (Maharashrta), Najafgarh (Delhi), Govindgarh (Punjab), Udyog Mandal (Keral) and Parwanoo and Kala Amb (HP).
An intensive ambient air quality monitoring network is to be established in the National Capital Region (NCR) and monitoring of S02, NOX and SPM has been initiated in the cities, towns and villages of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards regularly conduct vehicular and noise pollution surveys in different cities of the country.
A customized software package has been developed by the Board to review the water quality data that is being generated by the 480 water quality monitoring stations. A total of 1,532 grossly polluting industries in 24 states/union territories stand identified under the National River Action Plan.
Comprehensive River Basin Documents for the rivers Uihas, Brahmaputra, Pennar, Indus part II, Rishikulya and Chaliyar are under preparation by the Board.
The Central Pollution Control Board distributes simple water-testing kits to non-government organizations free of cost and provides financial assistance to them for conducting mass awareness programmes for prevention and control of pollution.