Environment Current Affairs 2018
Latest Environment Current Affairs 2017 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2017 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2017
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Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has banned import of petcoke for use as fuel. But it has allowed its import of only for use as feedstock in some select industries such as cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification industries. These industries were earlier affected by petcoke-related policy flip-flops, which began after Supreme Court judgment (October 2017) banning use its in and around New Delhi to curb pollution.
India is the world’s biggest consumer of petcoke. It gets over half its annual petcoke imports of around 27 million tonnes from United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp. It is dark solid carbon material. Cement companies in India account for about three-fourths of country’s petcoke use. Usage of pet coke in energy-hungry India recently had come under scrutiny due to rising pollution levels in major cities.
Petcoke (Petroleum coke)
It is one of the many industrial byproducts produced during oil refining. It is categorized as bottom of the barrel fuel as it is residual waste material which is obtained after refining coal to extract lighter fuels like petrol. It is used as a source of energy and carbon for various industrial applications. It is abundantly used in India in several manufacturing industries such as cement, steel and textile as it is significantly cheaper that coal, has high calorific value and is easier to transport and store. There are two kinds of pet coke produced viz. Fuel grade pet coke (80%) and calcined pet coke (20%) during oil refining.
Environment and Health Hazards of Pet Coke
Petcoke is much more potent pollutant than coal and causes greater harm to the environment and health. It contains whopping 74,000 PPM of sulphur content which is released into atmosphere as emissions which is much higher than vehicular emissions. It is also source of fine dust, which can get through filtering process of human airway and lodge in lungs which can cause serious health problems. Apart from sulphur, petcoke also releases cocktail of other toxic gases after burning such as nitrous oxide, mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, hydrogen chloride and greenhouse gases (GHG) which contribute to global warming.
Supreme Court has accepted Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) proposal to use hologram-based coloured stickers on vehicles, plying in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) to indicate the nature of the fuel used. The apex court has asked government to implement use of coloured stickers on vehicles plying in Delhi-NCR by September 30, 2018. It also clarified that this colour-coding will only be applicable in Delhi and NCR.
With this approval, Delhi will be first city in India to have hologram-based coloured stickers on according to fuel they run on. This move aims to counter air pollution in national capital. Under this colour scheme proposed by MoRTH, light-blue colour will be used for vehicles running petrol and CNG-run vehicles while orange colour sticker will be used for diesel-driven vehicles. These hologram-based stickers will also contain registration date of the vehicle. MoRTH is also considering to introduce green number plates for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Introduction of coloured stickers will restrict use of more polluting vehicles in congested or polluted zone temporarily or permanently depending on the pollution level. The colour coding will help authorities identify and restrict vehicles running on high-polluting fuel from congested or polluted zone temporarily or permanently depending on the pollution level