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|Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection||By B. Sengupta, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board|
The programmes for environmental management gained momentum with the enactment of a series of laws and regulations since 1974. The increasing concern of the Government of India about environmental management is evident from the pollution control legislation that have been enacted by the Parliament and the follow-up programmes that have been taken up for their implementation. The environmental legislation and programmes cover not only the control of discharges, emissions and wastes but also relevant activities including manufacture, storage, handling and import of hazardous chemicals. The progress made so far in regard to pollution control includes development of effluent/emission standards for over 70 different types of industries as well as guidelines for management and handling of hazardous, municipal and bio-medical wastes. A number of national level programmes have been taken up for pollution, which includes,
These programmes are increasingly contributing towards control of effluents/emissions and proper management and handling of hazardous wastes resulting from industrial and other activities. However, challenges still exist in the sense of the overall management of environment to keep in pace with international competitiveness, compliance to international agreements, as well as from the point of controlling the over burdening of our resources. Problems also exist particularly in cases involving industries, which were established before the enactment of the Water/Air Acts and growth of human habitation in the proximity of industries. The establishment of small-scale water polluting industries in a scattered manners as well as small-scale air polluting units which do not have the scope of common emission control facilities also remains a challenge. It was imperative to go beyond compliance through adoption of clean technologies and improvement and practices. The environmental management approach especially in respect of industrial activities was therefore looked into in an interactive way not only by the polluting industries but also by all those concerned with these industries at Local, State as well as the National level. Status of pollution control in different types of industries including the problems in implementation as well as in selection of a sustainable approach in handling pollution control problems was discussed in 2003 and the initiatives taken in the form of the “Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection (CREP)”.
The Charter was derived from an exercise undertaken by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which enlisted the action points for various categories of highly polluting industries. For monitoring implementation of the Charter, Eight Task Forces comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Central Polluting Control Boards, Industry Associations and Experts have been constituted.
The key issues discussed covered, handling and utilisation of fly ash in Thermal Power Plants; change over to membrane cell technology in chlor-alkali industries; effective use of post biomethanated distillery effluent for irrigation; incineration of toxic effluents resulting in the production of dye intermediates, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, production of low sulphur fuels by refineries; proper collection and treatment of effluents from tanneries; and action to achieve zero effluent discharge in pulp and paper industries.
To discuss the status and to decide on further course of action, the Hon’ble Minister for Environment & Forests called for a review meeting on 29-07-2003, which was attended by the Task Force members, senior officials of the Ministry, Pollution Control Boards and Industry representatives.
The findings of monitoring by the Task Forces indicate that important initiatives have been taken by various industries for voluntary compliance of the Charter. These include the following:
All the Task Forces have since completed five rounds of meetings and field visits to monitor the progress so far made by respective industry sectors. In most of the cases, field visits have been made for on-site verification of the compliance of the implementation of CREP recommendations. The State Pollution Control Boards have also been asked to monitor implementation of the Charter in respect of industries in their states.
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