The Central Pollution Control Board has fined Rs 1 crore each on three oil companies for their failure to install anti-pollution "vapour recovery" systems at fuel stations.
The fine has been slapped on public sector oil firms Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited.
Vapour recovery device is an instrument to capture displaced vapours that emerge from inside a vehicle's fuel tank while filling petrol or diesel in it.
In separate notices issued to the oil companies dated December 12, CPCB Chairperson SPS Parihar had said the pollution regulator's teams found during inspection that the vapour recovery systems were either not installed or were not functioning at the fuel stations and sought an explanation for the same.
Mr Parihar noted that the explanation given to the pollution watchdog was "unsatisfactory", following which he directed the three oil companies to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 1 crore each.
Noting that petrol re-fueling stations are a major source of benzene emission which is a carcinogenic compound and people in its vicinity can be at risk of its exposure, Mr Parihar said installation of vapour recovery systems is an important step in improving air quality.
He further said the three companies need to submit a compliance report on directions of the National Green Tribunal which had ordered all public sector oil companies to install vapour recovery devices at all fuel stations by October 31.
The tribunal had directed the three oil companies to install stage-I and stage-II vapour recovery devices by October 31 and asked the CPCB and the Ministry of Petroleum to issue directions for the same and ensure that necessary steps are taken.