There is lack of effective monitoring of air pollution caused by ships entering Indian Maritime Zone, the National Green Tribunal has observed and said that vessels entering Indian waters are subject to environmental laws.
A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore said all the vessels, Indian and Foreign, entering into Indian Maritime Zone are subject to relevant provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, as well as rules framed thereunder until comprehensive Indian Merchant Shipping Rules come into force.
"The various regulatory authorities charged with the responsibilities under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and rules made thereunder, the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards will regulate the air as well as various other pollution caused by the Indian vessels as well as the Foreign vessels entering into Indian Maritime Zone," the bench said.
The tribunal also directed the Ministry of Shipping and Director General of Shipping to come out with a comprehensive Merchant Shipping rules which will not only include merchant ships but also the fishing vessels which use gensets of capacities mentioned in the various notifications of the MoEF & CC within a period of one year.
The judgement came on a plea filed by advocate Shibani Ghosh seeking directions to monitor the pollution caused by ships and vessels entering the Indian maritime coastal waters and submit a report to the NGT.
It highlighted the issue of air pollution caused by ships entering Indian waters due to burning of fuel during transport as well as while waiting in the dock yards/ports.
The plea said that the air pollutants emitted by the ships include particulate matter, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide, black carbon and non-methane volatile organic compounds.
Ms Ghosh also stated that shipping emissions are rapidly rising as trade through water-bore transport is increasing around the globe.
According to the Annual Report, 2016-2017, of the Ministry of Shipping, approximately 95 per cent of the India''s trade by volume and 68 per cent by value is moved through maritime transport, it said.
The plea had claimed that the ships were responsible for emitting a "significant amount of air pollutants into the atmosphere" by burning fuel while sailing or waiting in the the docks.
"A survey was carried out to establish average fuel consumption. Fishing vessels consume about 20 litres of diesel per day and other vessels consume about 60-70 litres per day," it had said.
The air pollution caused by ships has severe impact on the ambient air quality of the coastal areas as they emit pollutants like particulate matter, sulphur oxides or nitrogen oxides which contribute to global air pollution as well, the petition had said.