By March 15, all industrial units operating in Delhi will have to switch to piped natural gas (PNG) from any other fuel source they are currently using, the Delhi environment department has told the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). Units that fail to comply with the order will be shut down.
In a recent meeting to review the Graded Response Action Plan to fight pollution in the city, Delhi government officials said this will end the problem of other unapproved fuel — as notified by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) in 1996 — in the city.
“We have already given directions that all industries in the city must either convert to PNG or we will shut them down. Many people have already started the process. We have sent letter to 700 units and 100 more are being sent,” an environment department official said in the meeting.
“In some areas like Mandawali there is a problem in terms of gas lines. We have met IGL on this and asked them to let us know if they need any kind of help in terms of subsidy. We will give them whatever they need for this transition,” the official added.
EPCA lauded the initiative and called it an example that other NCR states to follow.
“Even you should try and do this in your states,” EPCA member Sunita Narain told representatives of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan present at the meeting.
Earlier, in a meeting with Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on December 7, EPCA chairman Bhure Lal had raised the issue of industries running in Badli, Bawana, Narela and DTU areas causing air pollution.
These industrial areas use non-approved fuels for running their machines and are burning garbage. There are approximately 10,000 rubber units operating and need to be checked, he had informed.
In 1996, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee issued a notification mandating the ‘acceptable fuels’ that could be used in Delhi. This notification was issued under section 19 of Air Act. The list did not include furnace oil or pet coke or other fuels that could have high Sulphur. In 1996, it specified that coal with low Sulphur (4000 ppm) could be used in Delhi and also termed fuel oil with 18,000 ppm of Sulphur as low-Sulphur.
Generators on PNG
In the EPCA meeting, it was also suggested that generators should be allowed to run if they use gas as fuel.
“The proposal was made (by Delhi government). In principle, EPCA is in its favour. Let us call a meeting to discuss which are these generators that can run on gas and how will we distinguish between gas and diesel-run ones,” Sunita Narain said.
Ahead of Diwali, EPCA had started implementing “very poor” and “severe” categories of its Graded Response Action Plan — which includes more strict measures including the diesel generator ban — to curb air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas.