NEW DELHI: Hallmarked gold jewellery comes under the scanner for high pollution footprint. For the first time in the country, all Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certified hallmarking and gold assaying centres will have to seek clearance for operations under the Air and Water Pollution Act.
"All the gold assaying and hallmarking centres shall obtain necessary contents under the provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 & Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 & Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 from the concerned state pollution control boards and pollution control committees," said guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The CPCB has farmed environmental guidelines to bring such facilities into the environmental regulatory framework. There are no existing guidelines at present for hallmarking centres. The move comes after a case was filed in the NGT highlighting the air pollution caused by acidic fumes in gold hallmarking centres from the process of gold assaying and hallmarking without complying with pollution control norms.
Lead oxides and nitrous funds are generated during cupellation and parting acid treatment respectively. These fumes, if inhaled may pose a health hazard to personals and workers involved in assaying. During the process, scrubbed water with lead containment is discharged.
"BIS may also make it mandatory to have a copy of consents issued by SPCBs/PCCs under Water Act 1974 & Air Act 1981 and Authorization certificates while issuing the BIS certificates. BIS may explore new alternate instrumental methods with low pollution footprint for assaying of Gold," according to the guidelines.
It also offers protection to people working in such units, saying the blood test of a worker should be done once in a year who has worked for at least 6 months in such a facility. The BIS hallmark is a certifying mechanism to certify the purity of precious metal.