“Explained: Functioning of CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board)”

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This article is written by Ritansha Lakshmi, a first-year law student of Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida

 Introduction: What is CPCB?

“In pursuit of Clean Environment.”

India’s pollution watchdog, The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It was established on September 22, 1974, under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was assigned with the responsibilities and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. It is responsible for Monitoring Air and Water Quality and any issues related to pollution.

Why/how was it formed?

The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, enacted under Article 252 of the Constitution of India provided for the establishment of Pollution Control Boards in the Centre and at the State levels. Central Pollution Control Board has been created under Section 3 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 with the main function to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in the different areas. CPCB was constituted on 22 September 1974.  The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was passed in 1981. The initial name of CPCB was “Central Board for the Prevention and Control of Pollution”. The name was later changed to the Central Pollution Control Board through Water (Prevention & Control) Amendment Act, 1988 to promote cleanliness of streams, wells etc. in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and to improve the air quality. This was done with a view that the CPCB had to implement both Water and Air Act and functions under both the Act were to be executed by the one agency and, therefore, the name was changed to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Its powers and functions:

Power of CPCB:

As per the Government of India policy decision, the CPCB delegated its powers and functions from time to time under Section 4, Sub Section 4 of The Water Act, 1974 and Section 6 of The Air Act, 1981 concerning various Union Territories to respective Pollution Control Committees under the administrative control of local Administration which are responsible for the enactment of regulations relating to prevention and control of environmental pollution.

Functions of CPCB:

CPCB co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them. It acts as a field formation and also offers technical facilities to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Primary Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 is to

  • Promote sanitation of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and
  • Improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

In addition to the main functions CPCB has the following functions under section 16 of both Water and Air Acts:

  • Advise the central government on any matter concerning prevention and control of water and air pollution and improvement of surface waters and air quality.
  • Plan and cause to be implemented nationwide programmes for the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution.
  • Deliver technical aid and direction to the State Boards, take-out and sponsor investigation and research relating to problems of water and air pollution;
  • Plan and organize training of persons involved in programmes for prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;
  • Organize through mass media, a comprehensive mass awareness program on control, prevention or abatement of water and air pollution;
  • Collection, compilation and publication of technical and statistical data relating to water and air pollution and the measures devised for their effective prevention, control or abatement;
  • Formulate manuals, codes and guidance relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents as well as for stack gas cleaning devices, stacks and ducts;
  • Circulate information in respect of matters relating to water and air pollution and their prevention and control;
  • Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with state government concerned, the standard for stream or well or quality of air;
  • Start or recognize laboratories to enable the Board to perform and;
  • Perform such other functions as and when prescribed by the government of India;

Significant achievements of CPCB:

The Central Government has set up the ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority’ (NGRBA) as a collaborative institution of Central and State Governments under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 for abatement of pollution of River Ganga.

There are 8 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) inventoried by CPCB which are located at the bank of river Ganga or its tributaries affecting the water quality of river Ganga directly or indirectly.

There are 68 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) inventoried by CPCB which are located at the bank of river Ganga or its tributaries affecting the water quality of river Ganga directly or indirectly.

CPCB has formulated Consolidated Guidelines for collection, segregation & disposal of plastic waste.

Plastic Waste Usage in Road Construction: Presently, several roads have been constructed by using plastic waste with bitumen in many of the States/UTs, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, West Bengal & Pondicherry etc. Approximately 50,000 Kms road has been constructed by using plastic waste.

CPCB has a significant take on Environmental Planning by looking into the development of standards and guidelines and also the development of laws, rules and regulations. It also Impacts Environment Assessment/Audit by identification and inventory of source of pollutant and Impact Assessment on different components of the environment (air, water, land and other natural resources).

Conclusion:

CPCB indeed doing great it is advisable if it should play a more active role in developing new low-cost and feasible cleaner technologies as well as incorporate latest technologies to provide relevant information related to causes of pollution and mechanisms to control pollution and disclose the polluters name publicly. Environment is a common property resource should be handled properly through collective efforts rather than enforcing the strict rules and regulation. CPCB to work closely with local groups and NGOs for creating awareness and knowledge about pollution abatement and control. CPCB has to create its stand in the whole arena of pollution control. In the present era of information technology, CPCB should have strong database related to its activities and the same should be put in the public domain. Presently, the maintenance of data related to its functioning is not in proper shape. To bring the transparency, Ministry of Environment and Forests should coordinate and facilitate computerization of state boards is on top priority. CPCB should also disclose its achievements with clear benchmarking of the same achieved by similar organizations across the different countries.

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