National

Panel pulls up 19 States for tyre disposal

More than 40% of tyre pyrolysis units were not complying with rules, the NGT observed in April.

More than 40% of tyre pyrolysis units were not complying with rules, the NGT observed in April.   | Photo Credit: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

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Inadequate management of pyrolysis technique by-products poses health risks

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of workers employed.

Tyre pyrolysis refers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250º C and 500º C, produce liquid oil and gases.

While this is considered a safer technique than burning tyres, pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyro-gas, oil as residue and the inadequate management of these by-products poses health risks.

The CPCB letter of December 4 says States should be closing down all pyrolysis units that are not compliant and that the import of hazardous substances — these include used tyres — ought to be strictly regulated.

India is also a recipient of used tyres from Australia and the U.K., which are sent for recycling and disposal.

As of 2016-17, official estimates indicate 127.34 million tyres were produced in India, which was seen to be a 12% increase from the previous year. A 37% increase in the tyre production has been observed in the two-wheeler segment, a 23% increase in the tractor segment and 16% in the passenger car/jeep segment. India discards about 100 million tyres everyday and only a fraction of it is recycled. India is also responsible for 6% of the global tyre waste, according to a 2017 report by environmentalist group Chintan.

Toxic emissions

The National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions. The authority asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to look at ways to dispose used tyres safely. Subsequently, the board issued a set of guidelines, in which pyrolysis was recommended as an acceptable mode.

More than 40% of tyre pyrolysis units were not complying with rules, the NGT observed in April 2019, after it sought a report from the CPCB. The CPCB reported that there were 637 units in 19 States of which 251 units were compliant, 270 non-compliant and 116 were closed.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 10:34:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/panel-pulls-up-19-states-for-tyre-disposal/article30239009.ece

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