New Delhi: The centre has exempted 36 non-polluting industries, termed white industries, such as solar and wind power plants, from green clearance.
“The new category of white industries, which is practically non-polluting, will not require environmental clearance (EC) and consent. This is a landmark decision to give a fair picture of the industries," environment minister Prakash Javadekar said after releasing the new categorization of industries on Saturday based on their pollution load.
Major industries in the white category which would not require any clearance from the ministry or consent to operate from state pollution control boards are solar power generation using photovoltaic cells, wind power, mini-hydroelectric power (less than 25 megawatts), assembling of electric lamp (bulb) and CFL, fly ash bricks and carpet weaving.
Over the past one year, the environment ministry has been working on the recategorization of industries.
The ministry was planning to categorize industries under a three-colour scheme—red, orange, green—depending on their pollution potential, Mint had reported in April 2015.
“Recategorization of industries based on their pollution load is a scientific exercise. The old system of categorization was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the pollution of the industries. The new categories will remove this lacuna and will give clear picture to everyone. Twenty-five industrial sectors which were not critically polluting were also earlier categorized as red. This was creating wrong impression to everyone," added Javadekar.
The new system is based on the pollution index (PI) which is derived from the quantity of emissions (air pollution), effluents (water pollution), hazardous wastes generated and consumption of resources by an industry. PI ranges from 0 to 100 and a higher number indicates a greater degree of pollution load from the industrial sector.
Industrial sectors having pollution index score of 60 and above would come under the red category, 41-59 under orange, 21-40 under green and 0-20 under white.
As per the new categorization, now there are 60 industrial sectors in the red category, 83 in orange, 63 in green and 36 in white category.
According to the environment ministry, industries in white category will only have to inform the state pollution control board while starting operations. A red category industry will not be permitted in an ecologically fragile area or protected area.
The move will help in India’s path to achieving its target of 175,000 megawatts of renewable power by year 2022.
“The purpose of the categorization is to ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with the environmental objectives. The new criteria will prompt industrial sectors willing to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in generation of fewer pollutants," the environment ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Other industries such as bicycles, baby carriages, bio-fertilizer, bio-pesticides, packing of tea, chalk making, leather cutting and stitching, and organic manure are also in the white category.