With 60,000 Deaths Last Year, SC Asks Govt- What's More Important, Saving Lives Or Industries
The Supreme Court pulled the government for not acting over the air pollution crisis which led to about 60,000 deaths last year. “What’s more important — saving lives or industry?” – SC asked the government as reported by The Tribune.
A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur expressed its anger over the Ministry of Environment’s inability to act upon the issue of ban on pet coke. The court — which is dealing with Environment Pollution Control Authority’s (EPCA) demand for regulating the import of pet coke, asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to discuss the issue with EPCA and come out with a policy on regulating pet coke import.
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has also supported the regulation of the import of pet coke.
SC’s order to ban pet coke import
The Supreme Court in May gave an ultimatum to the Centre till June 30 to ban the import of petrochemical coke to India.
“Please expedite it. You cannot go on like this. By June 30, you take a decision, else we will take a decision,” the bench had said.
The apex court also asked the government to consider the implementation of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in Delhi first and then in other cities as people in the state capital are suffering the most due to air pollution. NCAP is a scheme that is aimed at tackling air pollution in 100 cities.
“You have lots of programmes but you can’t implement it. You can’t implement the programmes in Delhi and you are talking about pan-India. You at least implement it (NCAP) in Delhi first,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta told additional solicitor general A.N.S. Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, reported The Wire.
Nadkarni said that a comprehensive four-week plan to tackle air pollution will be implemented and parts of it have already been implemented in Delhi-NCR.
The Court was hearing a matter of a PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M.C. Mehta who had raised the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR. Matters related to this are posted for further hearing in July.
India turns blind eye and continues to import Petrochemical waste. The serious issue of air pollution has already come down on us, the killer smog in Delhi stands as an indication to it.
Posted by The Logical Indian on Monday, January 15, 2018
What is Pet Coke?
Petroleum coke or pet coke is a petroleum by-product, a residue obtained from refining heavy crude oil. It is carbon-rich. On combustion, it becomes a potent source of carbon dioxide. In 2016, India imported 8 million metrics of pet coke from the USA. China used to be the highest importer of pet coke but they stopped after realising the disadvantages of the same.
Petroleum coke is the cheaper and dirtier alternative to coal which has much higher carbon and sulphur content. Last year, Supreme Court banned the use of pet coke in Delhi-NCR region. However, an exemption was made for cement and limestone industries.
The government later informed in April this year that they are planning on a blanket ban on pet coke. This ban might hit the small and medium scale industries.