A two-judge bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta banned the sale, distribution and use of furnace oil and petroleum coke by the industries in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in order to curb the problem of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region.
In addition, it also imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakh on the Central Government for failing to adhere to emission norms regarding prevention of pollution and said that if the state governments failed to notify the ban, this order will automatically come into effect from November 1.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) in its 72nd report identified pet coke and furnace oil as a major source of pollution in Delhi NCR region in addition to the pollution caused by firecrackers on Diwali. According to the report, pet coke and furnace oil emissions are 72,000 ppm and 23,000 ppm respectively. The fuels pollute the air by releasing deadly Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide fumes into the air.
The order was an addition to the series of judgments by the apex court as a step to deal with the rising levels of pollution in the capital city, which was labelled as one of the most polluted cities in the world. The Delhi government banned these fuels in 1996, however, they were still being used in NCR region by dyeing units, cement factories, paper mills and ceramic units.
Small and medium scale industries which are a source of employment of millions of workers are expected to get hit the most by the court’s decision.
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