In a major move aimed at facilitating “ease of doing business” even while safeguarding environmental concerns, the Centre on Saturday came out with a list of re-categorised industries based on their pollution levels. A new category of “White Industries” covering 36 sectors that are “practically non-polluting” has been created.
Air coolers/conditioners, wind power and mini hydel of less than 25 MW of capacity, bicycles and baby carriages, bio-fertilisers and surgical and medical products assembling are among the industrial sectors that are now categorised as White Industries. “The new category of White Industries, which are practically non-polluting, will not require Environmental Clearance (EC) and consent. That will help them get funds from lending institutions. The re-categorisation exercise was carried out over the last one year. This is a landmark decision to give a fair picture of the industries,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
“The old system of categorisation was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the level of pollution caused by these. The new categories will remove this lacuna,” Javadekar said, adding 25 industrial sectors which were not critically polluting were earlier also categorised as “red”, giving a wrong perception.
Red (60 sectors), Orange (83 sectors) and Green (63 sectors) categories existed earlier also. Those like automobile manufacturing, big hotels, oil and gas exploration industries are clubbed as Red Industries — the highest pollutant category. Building and construction (over 20,000 sqm), ceramics, automobile servicing, ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicines and refractories are considered Orange Industries and small hotels, dal mills, flour mills and small bakery are Green Industries.
The Pollution Index (PI) of an industrial sector is a number from 0 to 100 with the increasing value denoting increasing degree of pollution load from the industrial sector. Red category has industrial sectors having PI score of 60 and above; sectors having PI of 41 to 59 are under Orange category; Green category covers sectors having PI score of 21 to 40 and industrial sectors having PI score up to 20 are put under White category.
Generation of emissions, effluents or hazardous waste and their resulting contamination of air, water and soil are the determining criteria of PI. This revamped classification done by Central Pollution Control Board also considers the size of the industry and consumption of resources. No Red category of industries will be permitted in the ecologically fragile area / protected area under normal circumstances.
“The purpose of the categorisation is to ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with environmental objectives. The new criteria will prompt industrial sectors to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in the generation of fewer pollutants,” said Ministry officials, adding another feature of the new categorisation system is that it will facilitate self-assessment by industries.