Prelims level : Pollution & Waste Management Mains level : GS-III Conservation, environmental pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
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Why in News?

  • 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 the workers employed.

About Tyre Pyrolysis:

  • 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 and oil as residue and the inadequate management of these by-products Poses Health Risks.

Initiatives by the Government:

  • The CPCB has said that 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Subsequently, the board issued a set of guidelines, in which pyrolysis was recommended as an Acceptable Mode.

Important Facts:

  • 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 every day 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.

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