NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked all states and Union territories to consider prohibiting the use of pet coke and furnace oil by industries, saying it was a cause of pollution not only for the National Capital Region (NCR) but the entire nation.
The apex court, which has already banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil from November 1 in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, made the remarks after the Centre said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a direction on their prohibition with immediate effect until further orders.
"We may note that pollution caused by pet coke and furnace oil is not a problem confined only to the NCR region but appears to be a problem faced by almost all the states and Union territories in the country," a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
"For the present, we do not propose to give any direction to any other state and Union territory but we request all the state governments and Union territories to consider taking similar measures as have been taken by the Government of India and the chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986," it said.
The apex court had on November 13 reserved its order on various applications filed by industries, using pet coke and furnace oil in these three states, seeking some relaxation in the ban order.
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, representing the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, told the bench that the government had taken a decision on November 15 and asked the CPCB to issue a direction prohibiting use of pet coke and furnace oil by industries in these three states.
He made it clear that the ban was with respect to the entire state and not applicable to the NCR only.
During the hearing, an advocate, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said that a direction should be issued that there was a ban on sale of pet coke and furnace oil for being used as fuel in these three states.
Nadkarni told the bench that he would look into this aspect and get back to the court within a week. The bench has fixed the matter for hearing on December 4.
The court had on October 24 banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil in these three states from November 1 while keeping in view the pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and noting that these states had no objection to it. The use of pet coke and furnace oil is already prohibited in Delhi.
The court was hearing a PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M C Mehta who had raised the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR.