New Delhi: India’s environment ministry has put restrictions on the imports of petroleum coke in the capital Delhi and its surrounding region, in the latest effort to curb rising air pollution.

Cement plants in the national capital region which use petroleum coke as a fuel would need to obtain permission from the state pollution control board to continue operations, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change said in a notification issued late on Friday.

The ministry has also banned imports of petroleum coke for trading purposes in the capital region, the notice said, adding that even industrial units allowed to use petcoke will not be allowed to store more than three months worth of their consumption.

India will also track the trade of the commodity, and has asked both sellers and consumers to submit monthly reports on petcoke-related transactions.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of petroleum coke, better known as petcoke, which is a dark solid carbon material that emits 11% more greenhouse gases than coal, according to the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

India’s government is in favour of imposing a wider ban on the import of petcoke, according to a government affidavit filed with its top court in December, a ruling on which is expected next month.

India, the world’s largest consumer of petcoke, imports over half its annual petcoke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp.