CPCB Flags Railway Stations on Green Parameters | Central Pollution Control Board
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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is a statutory corporation governed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Mo.E.F.C) which was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974. The CPCB is additionally entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The Central Pollution Control Board gives a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Central Pollution Control Board Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them. It is the apex organization in country within the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEFC. The board is governed by its Chairperson appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet of the Government of India.
CPCB flags railway stations on green parameters:
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) classifies the railway stations under the red, orange and green categories based on the quantity of waste water generated.
The Central Pollution Control Board assessed 36 stations or 5% of the major stations in India.
After the National Green Tribunal directed the Indian Railways to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the CPCB under the provisions of the Water Act & Air Act, a clarification was sought since railway stations didn’t figure within the classified list of industries requiring permission to determine and operate.
The Central Pollution Control Board issued a statement stating that railway stations would be classified into red, orange and green based on the quantity of waste water generation and disposal of untreated water into the municipal drain systems.
While railway stations generating waste water equal to or more than 100 Kilo Liters per Day would be categorized as red, those greater than 10 KLD but less than 100 KLD would come under the orange category. Railway stations with less than 10 KLD waste water generation would be stated green.
In a note to all Zonal Railways, the Railway Board said it had become imminent to reduce the waste water generation at railway stations and urged the need to identify quantity of sewage/non-sewage waste water separately to plan installation of water recycling plants accordingly.
Most of railway stations in India failed to comply on several parameters of wastewater management and treatment and failed to get consent from state pollution control boards (SPCB) under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, showed a recent report.
No industry or operator process or any treatment and disposal system can be established without the previous consent of the SPCB and no industry or process can discharge sewage or trade effluent into a stream or well or sewer or land in excess of the standards and without the consent of the SPCB, according to the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The Consent to Operate under both laws is given once by the SPCB -
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in its report published July 13, 2020, also pointed out insufficient data available to access the adequacy of the systems in place across railway stations.
Thirty-six railway stations across the country were assessed by the CPCB. These stations are ISO 14001 certified — an international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system.
The CPCB collaborated with SPCBs in compliance with an order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
How did it start?
A case was filed at the NGT in 2014 against compliance of plastic and other waste management rules at railway compartments, stations, and tracks by the Indian Railways.
These included the removal of encroachments from railway properties, preventing of unlawful discharge of effluents and management of water, including its re-use.
The court observed that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) 2018 Environmental Management in Indian Railways report showed unsatisfactory performance of the railway stations.
A similar outcome was noted by a CPCB study conducted for 14 major stations. The NGT directed the railways administration to organize and notify action plans by March 2019 and CAG to perform a performance audit by June 2019.
At least five per cent, or 36 of a total 720 major stations, were to achieve ISO 14001 standards of environmental management, the NGT said.
The CPCB was directed to audit the implementation and report to the NGT.
Assessment of CPCB
The CPCB assessed 36 railway stations as selected by railway authorities for the primary phase of implementation on 27 different parameters.
The first parameter that surprises the most is the availability of consent under the Air and Water acts. In August 2019 CPCB’s assessment, not a single station obtained the consent from their respective SPCB. It is clear from the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 that obtaining consent is a prerequisite to be met.
The stations have been operating without following any statutory norms for several years. Nothing much changed after the assessment either. A March CPCB assessment showed only 11 stations applied for consent, with Vadodara being the only one to obtain the consent. The situation is worse when applying for an authorization certificate under the Hazardous Waste Management rules is considered: Only three stations applied since the 2019 assessment.
The assessment revealed that few stations were compliant to some of the conditions, while others complied on different parameters.
When the performance of the stations in three different parameters was compared, results showed Agra and Vijayawada to be the poorest performers. No station met all three parameters in order to be categorized best performer.
Vadodara may be termed among the best performing stations if water management practices are properly complied.