Last week, the Central Pollution Control Board issued new guidelines in pursuance to the directions of the National Green Tribunal to oil companies to curb adverse impact on the environment. The country's apex pollution control body has directed oil marketing companies to ensure that fuel stations are at least 50 metres away from schools, hospitals and residential areas.
Further, they have been directed to also install vapour recovery systems (VRS) at new fuel stations which have a sale potential of 300 kilolitres motor spirit per month. On failure to comply, environmental compensation will be levied by the state pollution control board (SPCB) equivalent to the cost of VRS, which will increase based on the period of non-compliance.
The guidelines on setting up new petrol pumps were framed by an expert committee comprising members from IIT Kanpur, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and CPCB, at the directions of the NGT which is seized of a plea seeking a cap on the number of petrol pumps so as to avoid their adverse effects on environment.
As per the guidelines, "Retail outlets shall not be located within a radial distance of 50 meters from schools, hospitals (10 beds and above) and residential areas designated as per local laws. In case of constraints in providing 50 meters distance, the retail outlet shall implement additional safety measures as prescribed by PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation)."
"In no case, the distance between new retail outlets from schools, hospitals and residential areas shall be less than 30 meters. No high tension line shall pass over the retail outlet," the CPCB guidelines said.
Other guidelines were also issued with regard to an emergency stop, leak detection, overfill alarm, contamination of groundwater and soil, etc.