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Supreme Court imposes Rupees 2 lakh fine on Environment Ministry

Supreme Court imposes Rupees 2 lakh fine on Environment Ministry
Highlights

The Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the Environment Ministry for not fixing emission norms of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen...

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the Environment Ministry for not fixing emission norms of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide for 34 categories of industries -- important to mitigate air pollution in Delhi and the NCR.

Highlights:

  • Use of pet coke and furnace oil in NCR banned
  • ‘Failure to pay fine will invite serious consequences’

Imposing the fine, the apex court also banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil in the National Capital Region (NCR). The court, in its May 2 order, recorded the submission by amicus curiae that Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan would not object if the court prohibits the use of pet coke and furnace oil in their areas coming in NCR, said Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.

The emission norms are significant as these industries, engaged in producing fertilisers, nitric acid and other hazardous activities, use pet coke and furnace oil.

Describing the Ministry of Environment and Forests' delay in issuing the norms as "lethargic and lazy", the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta took exception to the Ministry issuing draft norms on October 23.

The court said failure to pay Rs 2 lakh would invite serious consequences. The court also expressed its "surprise" that the Ministry was sitting on the recommendations of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) madxe on June 27.

The draft norms issued on October 23 provide for 60 days for the public to raise objections. Thereafter, the Ministry will examine the objections before taking the final call on fixing the emission norms.
The apex court in its May 2 order had directed the central government and the CPCB to fix SO2 (sulphur dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) standards 34 categories of industries in view of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
The CPCB in its affidavit to the court on Tuesday said the emission norms for SO2 and NOx for nine categories of industries had already been notified.

These industries include thermal power plants (in 2015), Dye and Dye Intermediate (2010), Cement (2016), Copper, Lead or Zinc Smelter (2011), Iron and Steel (2012), Coke oven (covered under Iron and Steel sector) (2012), Sulphuric Acid (2008), Petrochemicals (2012) and Pesticides (2011).

Asking the central government to fix the emission norms by June 30, 2017, the court had by its May 2 order had said the emission norms would be fixed after hearing a limited number of authorised representatives of the said industries.

Meanwhile, Over 80 per cent of the 51 Indian companies responding to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) India have reported one or more types of emission reduction targets and initiatives this year, a new report said on Tuesday.

About 40 per cent companies are committed to renewable energy production and consumption targets. The CDP is an international organisation which works with shareholders and corporations to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of major corporations.

Three Indian companies -- Infosys Limited, Tata Motors Limited and Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited -- have committed to 100 per cent renewable power and joined the RE100 campaign boosting the country's clean energy ambition.

The CDP India report for 2017 was prepared in collaboration with ERM India by CDP, the non-profit global environmental disclosure platform.In addition, 40 reporting companies have an internal price on carbon or intend to put one in place within the next two years.Companies have declared a price ranging from $2 by Shree Cement to $29 by Ambuja Cement, said the report.

At the global level too, there is reason to be optimistic.Nearly 90 per cent of the world's biggest, most environmentally-impactful companies now have carbon emissions targets, with a fifth planning low-carbon into their futures to 2030 and beyond.

The world's biggest annual tracker of how these companies are responding to climate change was published globally on Tuesday by the CDP across many regions. Picking up pace, the second edition in the annual tracking corporate action on climate change series finds that more leading companies are embedding low-carbon goals into their long-term future business plans.

They are also increasingly aligning themselves with the carbon emissions reductions scientists say are needed to prevent dangerous climate change.

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