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Pollution Control Acts
And Regulations Of India
Dr. RAHUL SHRIVASTAVA
• Air pollutant means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance
(including noise) present in the atmosphere in such
concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human
beings or other living creatures or plants or property or
• Industrialization is on the increase and so is the
environmental pollution due to emissions and waste
generated from these industries. The industrial pollution due
to its nature has potential to cause irreversible reactions in
the environment and hence is posing a major threat to
sustainable development. Since the carrying capacity of the
environment is not unlimited and some areas or ecosystems
are more susceptible to adverse environmental impacts than
others, the unplanned and haphazard location of industries
might substantially increase the risk to the environment.
• Presently, regional plans that in-build environmental
components and provide for industrial zones compatible to
the surrounding land uses do not exist in India. Hence, the
industrial entrepreneur is forced to purchase a site convenient
to him and then apply for clearances. Normally, an industrial
site even if is presently not in an earmarked/notified
industrial land use, the land use conversion is made based on
clearances from environmental aspects and other
considerations, such as availability of electricity, water
• The present site clearance procedures also insist on carrying
out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for certain
projects. The EIA process turns out to be a myopic assessment
as the reports are several times engineered to meet the
desired results. Even if an impact is found as a result of the
EIA, the impacts are nullified by changing the manufacturing
process or the treatment technology.
• Also, EIA is lengthy procedure besides being expensive and, in
addition, is proving to be a set back in fast and realistic
decision-making process. Due to lack of land use controls
around the industrial sites, areas/uses sensitive to pollution
come up in the vicinity of the industrial areas.
• The impacts, which are mainly depending on the distances to
the receiving environment, are noticed due to such
uncontrolled land use changes. Adoption of strategic EIA
region-wise is being considered appropriate rather than site-
specific or project-specific EIA.
POLLUTION CONTROL ACTS
• By Harish C. Sharma
• In 1976, when the Indian parliament passed the 42nd
amendment to its constitution safeguarding the environment,
it became the first country in the world to do so.
• The amendment was to “endeavor to protect and improve the
environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the
• It imposes a duty on every Indian citizen “to protect and
improve the natural environment including forests, lakes,
rivers, and wild life, and to have compassion for living
• According to the Environment Protection Act of 1986,
Environment is that which includes the “inter-relationship
which exists among and between water, air, and land and
human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism
• Essentially, The Water (Prevention & Control) Act, 1974 can be
considered to be truly the first regulations.
• It has been amended many times since then.
Basically, there are seven Pollution regulations.
1. The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and its
2. The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1974 and
3. The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and its
4. The Environment (Prevention) Act, 1986 and its amendments,
(a) National Environmental Tribunal Act of 1995 and
(b) National Environmental Appellate Authority Act of 1997;
5. Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, July 1989
6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.
7. The Public Liability Insurance Act 1991 has been included as the
sixth environmental regulation because it is the first regulation
which gives some teeth to the other five pollution regulations
THE AIR (PREVENTION AND CONTROL
OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1981
• This Act was passed for the “prevention, control and
abatement of air pollution.”
• This law defined an air pollutant as “any solid, liquid or
gaseous substance present in the atmosphere in such
concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human
beings or other living creatures or plants or property or
• In this Act, power to declare air pollution, control areas has
been given to the state government after consulting the State
• By this, it may control or even prohibit burning of certain
materials in those specific areas.
• This Act requires approval prior to operating any industrial
• Government may suggest “control equipment” prior to giving
its consent to any industry for its operation.
• It may include chimney etc. In case there is any new
technology for emission control, then the Board may insist on
this to being installed.
• Standards specific to industries have been specified.
• Penalties were for a minimum of six months imprisonment to
a maximum of seven years and fine up to Rs. 5,000 for every
day during which contravention continues after conviction for
the first such contravention.
• This law makes it clear that when offenses are committed by a
company, its director, manager, secretary or other officers
could be held guilty and punished accordingly.
POLLUTION FROM AUTOMOBILES
AND THEIR STANDARDS
• To combat this increasing pollution from vehicles, new and tougher
auto standards are being enforced.
• The Environment (Pollution) Rules, 1986 contain these regulations.
• The standards recommended during idling for all four wheeled
petrol driven vehicles for carbon monoxide shall not exceed3
percent by volume.
• Idling carbon monoxide emission limit
• for all two and three wheeled petrol driven vehicles shall not
exceed 4.5 percent by volume.
• Cars with mass less than 1,020 kg. load on the axle will be
permitted to emit a maximum of five grams of carbon monoxide
• The combined emission of nitrous oxide and hydro carbons shall
not exceed 2 grams per kilometer.
• The above standards are for petrol driven vehicles only.
• For diesel driven vehicles, the regulations are different.
• For all medium and heavy diesel vehicles with capacity over
3.5tons, they should not emit more than 11.2 gms. of carbon-
monoxide per kilowatt hour (kWh) equivalent burning of fuel.
• The maximum permissible levels for nitrous oxide and
hydrocarbons are 14.4 and 2.4 gms. per kWh.
• The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of
India now also issues the ECOMARK notifications.
• They are issued to consumer products that meet certain
Indian Standards Institute guidelines. The product should be
friendly to the environment.
Disadvantages in the present practice
of not defining industrial areas
• The entrepreneur has no knowledge of the environmental
conditions and consequences of his industry which depends on the
site selected. He may land up investing in an environmentally
extremely sensitive site and consequently might find it difficult in
getting clearance from the regulatory authority.
• Depending on the location specificity, an industry may have to
provide more elaborate and costlier pollution control equipment to
meet more stringent standards than those permissible, in order to
avoid adverse impacts caused by extreme site sensitivity.
• The pollution control equipment provided by an industry may not
perform efficiently and with reliability because of factors beyond
control and hence there is a risk of pollution.
• Due to scattered industrial development, combined treatment
or disposal facilities, that may be much more economical and
effective than providing facilities by industries individually,
cannot be provided.
• Pollution control programmes cannot be planned effectively
with perspective due to haphazard development. Also,
decision making becomes difficult due to unplanned
• Due to increasing public awareness on environmental aspects
and due to the risks involved in isolated location, an industry
is under pressure for compliance with stringent standards and
the regulatory authorities are forced to take up immediate
• The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has decided to build up the
tool of environmental planning, in phases for the protection of the
• The most immediate need is to properly site industries so as to reduce
the risks of pollution and to protect the environment.
• There is also a need to simplify and support decision-making process on
site clearance for locating an industry.
• CPCB had prepared industrial siting guidelines for the Union Territory of
Pondicherry in, as early as, 1988 and subsequently similar guidelines
were prepared for Hassan District of Karnataka in 1992 under the Indo-
German bilateral programme.
• The results from these studies have been encouraging, emphasizing the
need for conducting such programmes at national level.
• CPCB in consultation with the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)
decided to prepare ‘Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries’, based on
environmental considerations, District-wise, throughout the country.
THE ZONING ATLAS
• Zoning Atlas for siting of industries zones and classifies the
environment in a District and presents the pollution receiving
potential of various sites/zones in the District and the possible
alternate sites for industries through easy-to-read maps.
• The objectives of preparing a Zoning Atlas for siting of
• To zone and classify the environment in a District;
• To identify locations for siting of industries; and
• To identify industries suitable to the identified sites.
Benefits of Zoning atlas
• Provides a ready-reckoner for best suitable site and relevant
• Makes decision-making process simpler, faster, realistic, transparent
• Provides a basis for incorporating environmental aspects into physical
(land use) planning process that is lacking in the country.
• Helps in planning cost-effective pollution control measures and
• Helps an entrepreneur in readily finding out the location best suited to
site an industry thereby saving time, efforts, investment and risk instead
of heading for an unknown site, conducting environmental impact
assessment and awaiting clearance by the regulatory authorities.
• Helps develop infrastructure facilities, such as roads, water supply,
electricity etc. and provide common waste treatment and disposal
• Helps check additional pollution in the areas already over-
stressed with pollution.
• Ensures that pollution potential of an industry is made
compatible with the local conditions of the site.
• Ensures that an industry, with high pollution potential desiring
to locate in a high risk area, will have to adopt clean
technologies for manufacturing process so as to prevent
generation of wastes/pollution thereby making it compatible
with the receiving environment.
• Helps in increasing awareness of the public on type of
industries and nature of pollution anticipated in their
neighborhood well in advance. AND
• Helps achieve sustainable development.
• The public through the Zoning Atlas, will know the locations of
industrial development, the type of industries that are likely
to come up and the anticipated pollution in their
neighborhood. They can decide on the acceptability of such a
development even before an industry actually comes up. This
eliminates apprehension against forcing pollution on them.
Do‘s (AT HOME) Don'ts
• Use mug instead of running tap
while brushing teeth.
• While watering plants, instead of
running hose, use water cane.
• Use a toilet flush which consumes
• Carry cloth, jute or paper bag to
• Use dustbin for garbage disposal.
• Plant a garden. Even in urban
settings, you can grow herbs and
flowers in pots.
• Wear extra-layer of clothes at
home instead of turning up the
• While shaving, use mug instead
• While taking bath, don't use
shower run for long.
• Don't allow water overflow from
the over head tank.
• Don't louder the volume of your
TV, radio and music
• Don’t buy loud crackers during
• Never leave food residue in your
• Don't over packaged’ goods and
foods. Containers and packaging
make up about a quarter of the
• Avoid unnecessary use of lights and
Prevention and Control of Vehicular Pollution
• Carpoo, Two - or four - can ride as
cheaply as Get a valid pollution
under control certificate from
authorized testing centre.
• Clean up your act. Keep
automobiles fuel filters clean and
save the fuel.
• Clean the air filter and oil filter
• Clean the carbon deposit from
• Maintain recommended tyre
• Don't use extensively your private
vehicles, try to use public
transportation whenever possible.
• Avoid congested road and rush
• Don’t idle away energy. Beyond
one minute, it is more fuel -
efficient to restart your car
• Don't forget to Keep your vehicle
tuned up When a vehicle is running
well, it uses nine per cent less fuel
and thus emits fewer toxic and
• Don't try to replicate mechanical
works and experiment with your
• Don't forget to replace your old
battery with new battery when it
• Sharma H. C., “ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
COMPLIANCE”, CBS Publishers, New Delhi, India. 1994.
• Sharma H. C., “A Dictionary of Environmental Terms
(With Hindi Translation)”, CBS Publishers, New Delhi,