India to assess batch pyrolysis processes upon suspicion of dire environmental impact

A National Green Tribunal (NGT) bench headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has requested that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) find out if advance batch automated plants can “address pollution” caused by burning of waste tyres in India’s pyrolysis industry. The CPCB is to carry out the assessment within the next four months and include the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and IIT-Delhiin the assessment process. At present, the CPCB has revealed that there are 678 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 states, with 270 units compliant to state pollution control boards (SPCBs), 250 non-compliant units, and 155 units closed or not in operation.

The tribunal was hearing plea filed by the Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) organisation, which implored a complete ban on end-of-life tyres (ELTs) used in pyrolysis units operating in the country due to non-implementation of existing laws, thus resulting in adverse environmental impact – the local pyrolysis industry is engaged in producing inferior quality pyrolysis oil, pyrolysis gas, solid residue (char), carbon black and steel from waste tyres. SAFE claimed that the process needs to be banned immediately as it has been suspect of causing irreversible environmental damage.

“Direct the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the CPCB and the SPCBs, in consultation with other scientific agencies, to develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure that waste tyres imported in the country are verified through scientific means and a robust monitoring framework,” the plea had said.

Following this, the CPCB has started the process of closing the noncompliant pyrolysis units – the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has recovered environmental compensation of INR 77,500 (US$ 1,095) from three units amidst heavy monitoring by CPCB.