Every year, India receives some 300,000 tons of waste tires from countries like Australia, where tires are either recycled, or disposed of. Nevertheless, these processes are not always safe and environment-friendly.

The National Green Tribunal of India (NGT) has filed a plea accusing India of failing to come up with efficient scrap tires management solutions – this is alarming as the state is a producer of some 6 percent of total global tire waste. After the move, the tribunal has turned to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) with a request to present a plan that would address the problem of scrap tires control. The direction was filed last month. The green tribunal has acknowledged that tire pyrolysis industry was indeed polluting the environment and harming human health. Moreover, the tribunal noted that some restrictions on import were required.

The CPCB was requested to present guidelines that would limit the import of scrap tires into India where these tires are used at pyrolysis plants as their application harms the environment and affects human health. The NGT highlighted that it was important to introduce the guidelines in order to prevent India from becoming ‘a dump yard’ with dangerous waste.

Currently, the applicant, Social Action for Forest & Environment (SAFE) is seeking a total ban of scrap tire use by the pyrolysis industry citing environmental damage prevention and saying that the emissions contain cancer-causing pollutants.

To tackle the issue of waste tires, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued Standard Operating Procedure; additionally, a number of authoritative legislations adopted earlier would be considered to deal with the case. The CPCB had presented its report to the green court where it notified about the status of the regulations compliance. According to the board, India has 637 tire pyrolysis unites, however, only 251 of them were complying to the regulations. The watchdog also offered some “remedial measures”, some of them are only allowing continuous tyre pyrolysis and installing packed bed scrubber for control of gaseous emission.

The views that the issue of scrap tires in India was problematic and that the state failed to adopt proper waste management guidelines were echoed by Satish Sinha, an associate director with Toxics Link.

Article by MongaBay.