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Environmental Regulations in the Indian Cement Industry

World Cement,


Environmental concern in design, operation and the upgradation of cement plants has been increasing in recent years. Cement is the most essential ingredient in any kind of construction activity and the cement industry, as one of the six core industrial sectors, plays a vital role in infrastructure development, especially in a developing country like India. The Indian cement industry is the second largest in the world, with an estimated installed capacity of around 349 million t, which is likely to reach 600 million t by 2020.

There are a number of environmental issues related to the cement sector, such as control of air pollutants (dust and gaseous emissions), reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG), the control of fugitive dust, utilisation of hazardous wastes as alternate fuels and the conservation of natural resources. The Indian cement industry has shown phenomenal performance in terms of improving air quality. Dust emissions are reduced and cement plants conform to the environmental parameters set by statutory bodies. Government polices have energised and motivated the industry to take innovative actions to protect the environment and improve the lives of people working in the plant and living nearby. This article discusses environmental regulations operating in India that have given new direction to the cement industry in terms of environmental management.

Environmental Acts/Regulations

In India, both the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the respective State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) deal with environmental issues. SPCB regularly inspects the cement plants/limestone quarries to verify compliance with emission norms. CPCB also inspects the cement plants to check compliance with emission standards under environmental surveillance squad activities. Cement plants also have to comply with the charter on Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection (CREP).

The Indian cement industry must comply with the various environmental acts and regulations notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), etc., which covers different spheres of the environment, encompassing emissions of air pollutants, consumption of water, generation and discharge of trade effluents, utilisation and storage of hazardous waste, noise generation, utilisation of forest land and wildlife areas. Specifically, these are as follows:

  • Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977.
  • Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA).
  • Hazardous Waste (Management Handling & Transboundary Movement), 2008.
  • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
  • The Factories Act, 1948.
  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The Mines Act, 1952.

These Acts/Regulations, together with some of the stringent conditions that are relevant for environment protection from industrial pollution and imposed by the pollution control boards, are discussed in part two of this article.

The full version of this article, written by the National Council for Cement and Building Materials, India, appeared in the October 2013 issue of World Cement.

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