Sei sulla pagina 1di 33

"There has been no serious attention paid to the rationale behind our

environmental legislation. In legal matters, we continue to follow an inherited

colonial tradition. Our environmental laws are outdated, irrational and difficult
to implement because they are contradictory and lacking in harmony."
Chhatrapati Singh
Director, Centre for Environmental Law, WWF, New Delhi.

Chapter Three
Central Pollution Control Board

(Organization, Powers, Functions and Achievements)

Parliament enacted, the Water Act, 1974, which required the Central
Government to constitute a Board to be called "Central Board for the
Prevention and Control of Water a Pollution (CBP & CWP)" under the then
Ministry of Works and Housing, to perform the functions assigned, exercising
the powers conferred under this Act. The Central Board was constituted in
September 1974 for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the Act. The
Board was reconstituted in September 1977 and then in 1980. The Board was
subsequently brought under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1981.
Consequent upon the enactment of the Air Act, 1981, the Board was entrusted
with additional responsibilities from March 1981 in regard to air pollution. It
was renamed as Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in October 1988 and
noise pollution was also brought under the ambit of its activities.

Constitution of the Central Board

According to the provisions of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution)

Act, 1974, the Central Board consists of the following seventeen members:

• a full-time Chairman, being a person having special knowledge or

practical experience in respect of matters relating to environmental
protection or a person having knowledge and experience m
administering institutions dealing with the matters aforesaid, to be
nominated by the Central Government;

• such number of officials, not exceeding five, to be nominated by the

Central Government tb represent Government;

• such number of persons, not exceeding five, to be nominated by the

Central Government, from amongst the members of the State Boards, of

whom not exceeding two shall be from amongst the members of the
local authorities;

• such number of non-officials, not exceeding three to be nominated by

the Central Government, to represent the interest of agriculture, fishery
or industry or trade or any other interest which, in the opinion of the
Central Government, ought to be represented;

• two persons to represent the companies or corporations owned,

controlled or managed by the Central Government, to be nominated by
the Government; and

• a full-time Member Secretary, possessing qualifications, knowledge and

experience of Scientific engineering or management aspects of pollution
control, to b~ appointed by the Central Government. (Annual Report,
98-99;3) (Appendix VI)

A study about the number of Board Members of this national apex body reveals
that the Board has seldom the full strength at its disposal. Most of the time it
was either short or members from the other field were taken in. When asked
about this by PAC, the secretary of MEF replied categorically, "The Central
Government thinks other fields also ought to be represented. So, we have taken
a view. It could be considered a subjective or an object view. First, we had a
fisheries expert, but the point is, the Board is wrestling with the kind of
problems, which are largely industry related. We have the Advisor from the
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. In that sense, we would
rather try to enrich the Board with the kind of experts and feedback from those
who get affected by the actions of the Board. The health problem is a primary
one and therefore, we have included the expert from the field of health. We
have included the media person to get a feedback from outside as to what is
happening. But it is difficult to accommodate all the interests. Agriculture is
also an important field and effluents are discharged into the agricultural land,
but in a sense it is mainly industry related. We have to, at some stage wrestle

with the soil problems of the Country and we have to tackle that also at that
time. At every point, we try to take into account the situation which the Central
Pollution Control Board has to tackle and therefore, we might have taken a
little advantage of this provision. But I would submit that the composition, in
my opinion, was conducive to the interests of the Central Pollution Control
Board." (PAC Report, 94; 3-4)

Regarding the vacancies in the Board, the MEF in their note stated: "the other
positions have fallen vacant for which the Minority is taking necessary action."
(PAC Report, 94; 4)

Since its inception, the Central Board has met 114 times (up to March 23, 1999)
over 25 years at different places of the country averaging 3-4 meetings per
year. This periodic meeting evaluates and decides the future course of action
for the Board. It also approves the projects and delineates the new areas. The
Board through its meetings also advise the MEF and other governmental

Functions of the Central Board

The main function of CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control
of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,
1981, are:

(i) to promote clean lines of streams and wells in different areas of the
states through prevention, control and abatement of water pollution;

(ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate a1r
pollution in the country.

Functions of the Central Board at the National Level

• Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning prevention

and control of water and air pollution and improvement of the quality of

• Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the

prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;

• Co-ordinate the activities of the State Boards and resolve disputes

among them;

• Provide technical assistance and guidance to the state Boards, carry out
and sponsor investigation and research relating to problems of water and
air pollution, and for their prevention, control or abatement;

• Plan and organise training of person engaged in programmes or

prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;

• Organise through mass media, a comprehensive mass awareness

programme on prevention, control or abatement of water and air

• Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to

water and air pollution and the measures devised for their effective
prevention, control or abatement;

• Prepare manuals codes and guidelines relating to treatment and pollution

and their prevention and control;

• Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the State Governments

concerned, the standard for stream or well, and lay down standards for
the quality of air; and

• Perform such other function, as and when prescribed by the Government
of India.

Functions of the Central Board as State Board for the Union Territories

• Advise the Government of Union Territories with respect to the

suitability of any promises or location for carrying on any industry
which is likely to pollute a stream or well or cause air pollution;

• Lay down standards for treatment of sewage and trade effluent and for
emissions from automobiles, industrial plants, and any other polluting

• Evolve efficient methods for disposal of sewage and trade effluent on


• Develop reliable and economically viable methods ·for treatment of

sewage, trade effluent and air pollution control equipment;

• Identify any area or areas within Union Territories as air pollution

control area or areas to be notified under the Air (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; and

• Assess the quality of ambient air and water, and inspect waste water
treatment installations, air pollution control equipment, industrial plants
or manufacturing processes to evaluate their performance and to take
steps for the prevention, control and abatement of air and water
pollution. (Annual Report, 98-99, 1-2)

As per the policy decision of the Government of India, the Central Pollution
Control Board delegated its powers and functions under the Water (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the water (Prevention and Control of
Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution)

Act, 1981 with respect to Union Ten·itories to respective Pollution Control
Committees under the local Administration.

Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Central Government has
empowered the Board to enter any place and inspect any equipment, industrial
plant, record, register document or any other material object under sub-section
(i) of Section I 0 and to take samples of air, water, soil or any other substance
for the purpose of analysis, from any factory premises or other places under
sub-section (i) of Section 11 of the above Act.

The function listed above are directed towards the effective control of water
and air pollution and thus to maintain and restore, wherever necessary, the
wholesomeness of water for various designated best uses and to preserve the
quality of air as per the requirement of ambient air quality. The Central Board
aims to achieve the above objective through an operational approach. Key
working areas have been identified for speedy implementation of the pollution
control programme. The working areas have been upgraded under three major
heads of operation listed below.

Pollution Assessment

Assessment of pollution is to be done through survey and monitoring.

Survey includes the following:

Inventorisation of pollution sources;

Assessment of pollution potential of river basins and such basins, and effects of
polluting activities.

Monitoring include the following:

Monitoring of air, inland waters and coastal water at national level;

Monitoring of emissions and effluents from large and medium industries; and

Data interpretation and quality assurance of data.

Pollution Control

Pollution control has to be done through planning and implementation of

control programmes.

Planning includes the following:

Planning for long and short term pollution control, coordination with State
Boards, Ministries and Government Departments and Manpower Planning and

Implementation ofpollution control programme is to be done through:

Setting/updating of standards and their implementation at the national level in

collaboration with the State Pollution Control Boards;

Enforcement through legal action; and

Assisting the Government in environmental impact assessment/environmental

appraisal for project clearance.


For making the various objectives, infrastructure is essential and comprises the
following: Scientific support for pollution assessment and control activities
through laboratory services; administration, finance and accounts. (Annual
Report 89-90; 4)

Management of Central Pollution Control Board

The policies and decisions of the CPCB are implemented by the Secretariat of
the Board through divisions organised according to the functional requirements
(Appendix VII) The Board coordinates the activities of the State Pollution
Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) in a nation-
wide programme of air and water pollution control. For this purpose, the

Central Pollution Control Boards started five zonal offices in 1988-89 for better
and effective coordination among State Pollution Control Boards,
subsequently, zonal office at Chandigarh was withdrawn in 1991 for practical
reasons. On more zonal office was opened at Bhopal during l994-95,and now
there are six zonal offices functioning in the country located at Shillong,
Calcutta, Kanpur, Bhopal, Varodara and Bangalore to have effective
coordination among State Pollution Control Boards, Pollution Control
Committees and other agencies. The functions and responsibilities of the zonal
offices are as follows:

• To work in collaboration with the concerned State Pollution Control

Board and/or other agencies, in some specific specialised areas
predominantly relevant to the regwn which have significance in
environmental pollution and control;

• In addition studies related to monitoring of pollution, preparation of

Environmental Status Reports, assessment of status of industrial
pollution control, routine co-ordination with the concerned state
Pollution Control Boards in pollution related matters and activities
including implementation of Minimum National Standards and other
standards/guidelines developed by the Central Board, inspection of
industries (including sampling and of samples), necessary follow-up
works as required by the Head Office attending public complaints,
grievances and also conducting specific investigations assigned by the
Head Office, replying to Parliament questions and participation in mass
awareness programmes such as national exhibitions etc. and to provide
information to the Head Office/Ministry; and

• to perform such other functions in relation to prevention and control of

environment pollution in the region as may be directed by the Central
Boards Head Office/Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of
India and the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. (Annual Report, 95-96:

Committees of Central Board

For effective functioning, the Central Board constitutes a number of

committees from time to time for specific functions. Such committees have a
number of experts from various State Pollution Control Boards, other
government departments and organisations, universities and academic
institutions, research institutions, private consultants etc; besides the Central
Board's Staff, and thus bring in fresh thinking, knowledge and competence to
the Board's working.

Powers of the Central Board

Under section 16 (2) (b) of Water Act, 1974 Central Board is required to co-
ordinate the activities of the State Boards and resolve disputes among them.
The Act, however, does not confer any power on the Central Board to oversee
functioning of the State Boards. Cases of non-compliance of State Boards with
the direction of the Central Board are required to be referred to the Ministry of
Environment and Forests. This seems to be a inherent lacuna in the Act but
Section 18 (1) (b) of the Water Act, 1974 provides that the State Board is
bound by the direction given by the Central Board. Sub-section (ii) of section
18 of Water Act 197 4 also empowers the Central Board, as and when needed'.

As per Water Act, 1974, Section 18 (1) (b) is only enabling provision to
intervene only after referring the matter to the Ministry but is it possible for
Central Board to give suo mota directions to the State Boards? The Ministry of
Environment and Forests opinionated as thus;

"Section 18 of the Water Act deals with power to give directions. Clause (a) of
Sub-Section 1 of Section 18 of the Water Act provides that in performance of
its functions under this Act, the Central Board shall be bound by such
directions in writing as the Central Government may give to it. Therefore, the
Central Board is bound to comply with the directions of the Central

Further Clause (b) of Sub-Section I of Section 18 of the Water Act provides
that every State Board shall be bound by such direction in writing as the
Central Board or the State Government give to it. Therefore, the State Boards
are bound to comply with the directions of the Central Board as well as the
direction of the State Government. However, provision to Sub-Section 1 of
Section 18 of the Water Act makes it clear that where the directions given by
the State Government is inconsistent with the direction given by the Central
Board, the matter shall be referred to the Central Government for its decision
and actions to be taken accordingly.

Sub-Section 2 of Section 18 of the Water Act, however, does not give the
power to the Central Board to take over the functions of the State Board, for
default in compliance with its directions by the State Board, till such time the
Central Government issues necessary order in this regard. The order of the
Central Government is a pre-condition for taking over the function of the State
Board by the Central Board." (PAC Report, 94; 5-6)

As per Water Act, in the matter of standards relating to the sewage and trade
effluents can be laid down by the concerned State Boards provided these
effluents are let out into the streams which are flowing with that State only. For
the inter-state streams, the standards are to be laid down in consultation with
the Central Board. It was decided in the third Conference of Chairmen and
Member Secretaries that the Central Board will develop standards for sewage
and trade effluents and these will be adopted by the State Boards. Accordingly,
the Central Board has been involved in developing the standards for various
categories of industries and these have been referred to as Minimal National
Standards (MINAS). The State Boards have adopted these standards and as and
where required made these standards more stringent. Although this is not
concurrent with the powers of the Central Board vis-a-vis the State Board. But
overlapping of law also cannot be avoided sometimes. That is why the Ministry
has asked the Indian Law Institute and the Centre For Environmental Law to
examine the provision and advice to harmonise the things.

It is Interesting to note that under the Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 198 L the
Central Board has been assigned the statutory responsibility of laying down the
ambient water and air quality standards. But in respect of industry specific

l trade effluents and emissions, standards are notified by the Ministry under the
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, although it is notified on the basis of
inputs from the Central Board and other sources. However, this does not mean
that standard notification is issued by the Ministry in consultation with State
Government by passing the Central Board. It happens because "the minimal
national standards are notified after taking into consideration a number of
factors relating to available technologies, cost of introducing better
technologies, relative pollution with reference to geographic and situation
prevailing in our country, impact on health, employment etc. Some of these are
socio-economic factors unrelated to technical data. The Central Pollution
Control Board is a technical body entrusted with the task of coordinating the
nation-wide efforts of pollution control and to advise the Government on
technical matters. The Central Pollution Control Board by the very nature of its
constitution is not equipped to arrive at final decisions where economic and
social issues are concerned. Even in the developed countries, environmental
decisions are taken not purely on technical standards but also on the basis of
their implementability in the face of social and cultural factors. In a developing
country it is all the more important that decisions are arrived at on the wider
basis of different dimensions of the country's national needs while keeping in
view consideration of human health etc. and the Ministry better qualified to
take these decision than the CPCB. Therefore, the final decision relating to the
standard has to rest with the Ministry. (PAC Report, 94; 7)

To be very precise, although Central Pollution Control Board is the apex body
at the national level for poqution control, its regulatory function is discharged
through the advisory role. So far the promotional activities are concerned, the
Central Board is perfonning its role and no additional powers are required for
that purpose. It is because "the federal structure of the Indian polity requires

that autonomy in matters of regional and local impotiance is left to the State
Governments. The subject of environment does not figure in the 7th Schedule of
the Constitution, through land and water are specially mentioned in the State
list. Air has not been mentioned as a subject probably at the time of framing of
the Constitution. Environmental enactments have been resorted to under either
Article 252 or 253 of the Constitution. Under these circumstances, it may not
be appropriate to centralise more powers in the hands of the CPCB". (PAC
Report, 94;8)

Manpower of the Central Board

It is important to point out here that CPCB has always remain short of the
sanctioned strength of staff. There are norms for ratio between scientific and
non-scientific staff, and strangely enough it has been claimed that a ratio of
60:40 is maintained between the technical/scientific staff and ministerial staff.

Staff strength of CPCB (1994-99)

Year Date Sanctioned Filled Vacant

1994-95 31.3.95 535 357 178

1995-96 31.3.96 581 367 214

1996-97 31.3.97 531 336 195

1997-98 31.3.98 539 336 203

1998-99 31.3.99 529 312 214

Finance and Accounts

The amount of grant-in-aid sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment and

Forests, Government of India, to the Central Pollution Control Board for Plan

and Non-Plan expenditure for financial years 1994-99 can be tabulated as

Sanctioned Plan- Projects/ Non-Plan (Rs. in Total (Rs. In

Budget for Programmes lacs) lacs)
(years) (Rs. in lacs)

1994-95 373.00 450.00 823.00

1995-96 373.00 465.00 838.00

1996-97 675.00 488.00 1,163.00

1997-98 496.00 488.00 984.00

1998-99 8000.00 800.00 1,600.00

The Ministry of Environment and Forests also sanctions an amount for the
annual plan, which can be tabulated as under;

Annual Plan-Period Sanctioned Amount (Rs. in lacs)

1994-95 275.00

1995-96 373.00

1996-97 373.00

1997-98 475.00

1998-99 496.00

1999-2000 800.00

From these data's an inference can easily be made that the grant-in-aid received
by the Central Board has increased sufficiently over the years. The Ministry,
although not generous in giving aid as per the opinion of the Central Board, but

it has certainly provided the Board with adequate finance. The Annual Plan
also shows increase over the years. Apart from these sources of grant-in-aid the
Central Board has other deposits too, in the forms of fees for audit, consultancy
services and International Collaborative projects.

However the 65 1h PAC audit Report came out heavily revealing certain
irregularities in the functioning's of the Central Pollution Control Board in
"improper maintenance of records; in correct procedure adopted in purchases
resulting in avoidable out flow of foreign exchange (valuing Rs. 3.39 lakhs);
irregular transfer and disposal of assets; failure to take action to get equipments
required/replaced; additional expenditure incurred (Rs. 29.15 lakhs); in the
execution of work on account of inadequate planning, slackness in Supervision,
enforcement of clauses in the Contracts; improper assessment of demand
resulting in publication valuing in sizeable amounts (Rs. 18 lakhs) lying in the
stores; missing of books in the library (costing Rs. 142 lakhs) etc. (PAC report,
94; 38)

25 years ofCPCB: An evaluation of its achievements

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was set up in September 1974,
under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,
1974. It coordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards
(SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs), and also advises the
Central Government on all matters concerning the Prevention and Control of
environmental pollution. CPCB, SPCBs and PCCs are responsible for
implementing the legislations relating to prevention and control of pollution.
They also develop rules and regulations, which prescribe the standards for
emissions and effluent of air and water pollutants and noise levels. CPCB also
provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for
implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

As it completed 25 years of its existence, the chairperson of the CPCB has

expressed satisfaction over its achievements in terms of various initiatives

taken for monitoring and control of pollution from different sources. Besides
environmental surveillance, several new policy measures and promotional
initiatives have been taken during the period.

The Central Pollution Control Board is continuing its activities in assessment

of pollution in different areas, strengthening monitoring mechanism for
assisting environmental quality and taking steps for prevention and control of
pollution from different sources through coordinated programmes with SPCBs
and PCCs. In addition, thrust is also being given to undertake inter action with
voluntary and non-government organisations for appropriate participation and
wide dissemination of information amongst public.

Major steps were also taken to nation-wide pollution prevention plan,

particularly with reference to combating vehicular pollution, pollution control
in 17 categories of highly polluted industries, implementation of action plans
for restoration of environmental quality in critically polluted areas, noise
pollution control and proper management of solid wastes, hazardous wastes
and bio-medical wastes. (Annual Report, MEF, 1999-2000; 86)

Major achievements of CPCB during the period are as follows:

Water Quality Monitoring

Maintenance and restoration of wholesomeness of water is the basic objective

of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. To ensure that
this objective is fulfilled, regular monitoring of water quality is required. It
helps in identification of nature and extent of pollution and its control. It also
helps in prioritization of pollution control activities, formulation of standards,
assessment of adequacy and effectiveness of various pollution control
programmes. The Central Pollution Control Board has been monitoring water
quality of national aquatic resources in collaboration with concerned State
Pollution Control Boards at 507 locations. Out of which 430 stations are under
MINARS (Monitoring of Indian National Aquatic Resources), 50 stations are

under YAP (Yamuna Action Plan) Programmes. Out of 507 stations, 415
stations are on rivers, 24 on ground water, 36 on lakes and 32 on canals, creeks,
drains and ponds etc. (Annual Report 98-99;7)

Studies carried out by the CPCB reveals that orgamc and bacterial
contamination are continued to be the critical pollution in Indian Aquatic
Resources. This is mainly due to discharge of domestic waste water mostly in
untreated form from the fast growing urban centres of the country. This fact
was also indicated in the studies carried out by the CPCB on water supply and
sewage disposal in class-! cities and class-II towns of the country. The
municipal corporation with inadequate resources are responsible for ever
increasing the load of municipal sewage. A large part of the municipal sewage
is still continuing to flow into the aquatic environment without any treatment,
thereby increasing the bacterial load of water, the main cause of water borne
diseases. The water quality results were analysed with respect to indicators of
oxygen consuming substances (biochemical oxygen demand) and indicator of
pathogenic bacteria (total and fecal coliform). The result of such analysis
shows that there is gradual degradation in water quality.

According to the studies on water quality status, it has been found that Yamuna
River is the most polluted river in the country having high BOD and coliform
in the stretch of about 500 km, between Delhi and Etawah. Other severely
polluted rivers are Sabarmati at Ahmedabad, Gomti at Lucknow; Kali, Adyar,
Cocum (entire stretches), Veghai at Madurai; Musi, d/s of Hyderabad.
Similarly river stretches of Ganga, d/s of Kanauj, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi
and Trighat; Godavri, d/s of Nasik, Nanded and Rajmundary; Cauvery d/s of
Rangapattna, KRS Dam, Satyamangalam Bridge; Krishna between
Mahabaleshwar and Sangli; Tapi between Nepanagar and Baranpur; Mahanadi,
dis of Cuttack; Mahi between Badanvar and Vasad; Brahamani, d/s of
Rourkela, Talcher and Dharamshala, also remained with high BOD and

Among the states, Uttar Pradesh tops with high BOD, followed by Gujarat,
Maharastra, Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. High level of organic
pollution is found in the states of Maharastra followed by Orissa, Uttar
Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu in that order. Similarly the value of coliform found in the states are in this
descending order i.e. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,
Kerela, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Assam. Tamil Nadu and
Gujarat are the major contributors of the above pollutants through domestic
sewage and inadequate dilution in aquatic resources. Due to inadequate
resources, the responsible authorities/agencies are not in a position to tackle the
problem of domestic wastewater generated. The Government of India under its
National River Action Plan has selected limited numbers of towns, where
sewage collection and treatment facilities are being provided. During later
stage of implementation of Ganga Action Plan, it has been realised that the
local authorities are not able to operate and maintain these assets due to their
lack of resources. It requires a lot of commitment from the State agencies. It
has been realised that there is significant contribution of pollution from diffuse
resources, either from urban or rural areas. To regulate such pollution a number
of changes in the government policies are required along with necessary public

The regular monitoring results of CPCB are being analysed and compared with
water quality stations of different water bodies in the country as per the
designated, best use classification. This forms the basis for identification of
polluted river stretches. The first exercise of this kind was done on the Ganga
river water, which resulted in launching of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) for
cleaning the Ganga river water by interception and diversion of sewage. The
plan was implemented in 29 towns located along this river. The experience and
expertise gained during implementation of GAP led the Government of India to
extend it to river cleaning programme to other rivers in the country. The CPCB
has identified through its regular monitoring results, the polluted stretches in

other river systems and identified the main source of pollution. These results
led to the formulation of National River Action Plan (NRAP). The National
River Action Plan is considering at 156 towns on the banks of Ganga (74),
Yamuna (21), Damodar (12), Kaveri (9), Godawari (6), Tungbhadhra (4),
Sutlej (4), Subemrekha (3), Betwa (3), Waingana (3), Brahmini (3), Chambal
(3), Gomti (3), Krishna (2), Sabarmati (1), Khan (1), Kshipra (1), Tapi (1),
Narmada (1) and Mahanadi (1). It is hoped that if the NRAP is implemented,
these rivers will regain the water quality to their water quality objectives.

Water quality monitoring stations sent data to CPCB and the State Boards at a
prescribed rate for each sample depending on the number of parameters. It so
happened that out of 80 stations 42 could not supply data and remained non-
operational for periods ranging from one to five years established up to March
1992. CPCB failed to co-ordinate with State Boards during the period and even
did not exercise its power to give directions under Section 18 of the Water Act,
1974. Later on, it was found that their non-functionalness was due to the delay
in identifying alternate sites, some of which were sanctioned even three years

The Global Environment Monitoring Scheme (GEMS) under World Health

Organisation has a network of surface water quality stations all over the world,
of which India is also a participatory member which CPCB as the nodal
coordinating agency. Each country is required to send data annually to WHO
collaborating Centre in Canada, which is the central data depository CPCB sent
its first report for 1985-87 only in 1990. And the data for 1991-92 also reached
late because of delay in receipt of data from State Boards. The Board later
started in house target of mid year as cut-off date for sending data of the
precious calendar year.

Biological Monitoring of Water Quality

Central Pollution Control Board has a nation-wide responsibility of water

quality monitoring and management. The monitoring result help in national

planning and execution of pollution control strategies, including identification
of water bodies, or part thereof, which are in need of improvement. For this
reason the CPCB has adopted an extensive network of water quality monitoring
stations (507) all over the country. At present this exercise is done for a limited
number of physio-chemical parameters such as Bacterial Pollution index,
Nutrient Pollution index, Organic Pollution index, Industrial Pollution index,
Pesticide Pollution index, Benthic Saprobity index, Biological Diversity index
and Production Respiration index. In many cases these parameters are not
sufficient to assess the quality status in terms of the 'health' of a water body. It
was recognized that the biological community in any ecosystem is reflective of
total quality in an integrative way. The bio monitoring methodology is more
informative and can integrate long term affects on all the adverse
environmental factors. The information from bio monitoring methods will help
in the classification and zoning of water bodies according to the level of
ecological degradation.

This scheme is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on

Environmental Cooperation, signed in January 1988, between the Government
of India and the Government Netherlands under which a project proposal
entitled 'Biological monitoring and eco-toxicological studies of River Yamuna'
was prepared to carryout a biological parameters to valuate the ecological
quality of fresh water river in India. The mid term evaluation conducted in
November 1990 revealed that "a substantial amount of expenditure in the first
year had been incurred on manpower, purchase of vehicles, computer, library
books etc. It further disclosed that CPCB had failed in eliciting involvement of
ITRC, the contractual obligations of ITRC was not well defined and that the
project was reduced to transfer of technology relevant to developed countries
without taking into account the ground realities ... the main objective of
creating early warning system and bio accumulation monitoring had not been
covered". (PAC Report, 94; 12) Anyway, the project was carried out in
Yamuna river intensively, a methodology was developed and tested in other

nvers, including river Tungbhadhra (Kamataka) and river Chaliyar (Kerala)
during 1993-94.

CPCB has decided to introduce this exerc1se in the national water quality-
monitoring programme in phased manner. In the first phase, 215 locations were
selected for the introduction of biomonitoring and the State Boards of Andhra
Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kamataka, Kerala,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, CPCB Head-office and Zonal offices
(except Shillong) were requested to send the concurrence for initiation. The
sites were selected on the basis of interpretation of physico-chemical data. The
monitoring at the finalised locations is to be carried out on monthly basis
excluding monsoon period i.e. July to September @ Rs 400/- per station per
month (per sampling) for 3 parameters i.e. saprobity index, diversity index and
P/R ratio (wherever possible). But due to local problems of the State Board, the
concurrence was received only from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal
Pradesh, Manipur, Bihar, Orissa, Punjab, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Kamataka and
CPCB zonal offices Kanpur and Vadodara and Hend Office. Later on Haryana
and Meghalaya Boards requested to CPCB for the inclusion of bio monitoring
in their states also. Requests were accepted by the CPCB and an advance
payment was made to the above State Boards and Zonal offices to build up
their infrastructure facility and initiate the project on urgent basis. Andhra
Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tamilnadu,
Haryana, Punjab, State Boards and CPCB have initiated the project in the
respective states.

Automatic Water Quality Monitoring Stations on Ganga

To monitor water quality of river Ganga continuously- Automatic Water

Quality Monitoring Stations (A WOMS) on the river were proposed in 1987 in
a research project of CPCB. The stations were to be installed at Kannauj (one),
Kanpur (two), Allahabad (three), Varanasi (three), Patna (one) and Calcutta

(one), which were identified as hot spots. In March 1990 Ganga Project
Directorate provided money for proposed automatic monitoring stations. The
monitoring systems are equipped with instrumentation facilities for
determination of some important parameters such as PH, temperature, turbidity,
dissolved oxygen and conductivity. These are all operational. The data
collected from these stations is used in developing models for river water
quality profile. These stations also help assessing the impact of sewage
treatment plant on river water quality. It acts as an early warning signal of
sudden change in the concentration of pollutants upstream.

River Basin Studies

The objective of the River Basin Studies was to ascertain quality of a river
consistent with human activities in the river basin and to inter-relate the
activities and quality so as to identify the cause of pollution qualitatively and
quantitatively and prepare an action plan to control pollution and maintain or
restore the wholesomeness of river.

The studies included classification and zoning of rivers at various reaches and
ascertaining pollution potential in the river basin. It consisted of both wet and
dry study. The wet study involved monitoring of river water quality for specific
period and the dry study involved field study on the basin activities. The
studies were carried out through the state Boards with CPCBs financial
assistance. With the help of the data generated, basin and such-basin reports
were prepared by CPCB.

CPCB had identified 15 major river basins of the country covering over 20,000
sq Km of catchments area. On the basis of river basin studies, Action Plans for
abatement of river water pollution were prepared. Five actions plans were
supposed to be taken up in 1990-91 but only Yamuna Action Plan can be
prepared and rest were taken up later on.

LVfonitoring of Indian Coastal Water

The project of Monitoring of Indian Costal Water was approved by the

Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1987 for prevention of coastal
pollution. The proposal was to establish a monitoring network covering the
critical stretches as already identified in the coastal survey conducted by
CPCB. The project was designed for a period of three and half years initially. It
was extended later on till March 1992 reportedly due to weather conditions,
high cost on hiring vessels and inadequate funds etc. The Ministry decided not
to continue it and even after six years the project failed to bear any result. The
only consolation came in the form of a software prepared by CPCB to be used
for analysis of data collected in some stretches of the coast. However, in some
stretches data could not be collected due to lack of proper sea going vessels,
bad weather conditions and ethnic problems in case of Tamilnadu Coast. The
Ministry in its evidence outlined the concrete benefits derived from this failed
project as thus:

(a) Advent to an unattended domain of the manne environment which

hither to remained beyond any quantitative measurements from
pollution view point.

(b) Development of expertise m manne environmental studies/

investigations through extensive field works and a number of training
programmes and inter-calibration exercises.

(c) Establishment of basic infrastructure, including procurement of

sampling and analytical equipment in a number of Institutions in the
country, which were not existing earlier. (PAC Report, 94; 18)

Pollution in Coastal Waters

The main cause of pollution of coastal waters of seas around the country is
primarily due to the disposal of untreated domestic wastes. In this connection,

the CPCB has directed all the SPCBs and PCCs to issue show cause notices to
the defaulting municipalities/civil authorities/industries or any such
activities/processes if any responsible for discharge of untreated
sewage/effluent into the coastal stretches and directed them for taking remedial
measures in the matter. Further, under National River Action Plan, the Central
and State Pollution Control Boards have identified 26 coastal river stretches in
the medium and minor rivers and their tributaries in the peninsular region for
assessment of pollution load for restoration of the water quality as required for
their designated best use.

It may be pointed out in this regard with Department of Ocean Development

(DOD), the Zonal office, CPCB, Calcutta has started a project called Coastal
Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPAS), which was later,
shelved. Now DOD is monitoring the waters of the country, which identified
some areas of concern, which required continued intensive monitoring.

Enforcement of Pollution in Highly Polluting Industries

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 1551 large and medium
industries in 17 categories of highly polluting industries, which are contributing
maximum to the pollution load. They have been given time schedule to install
necessary pollution control equipment to comply with the prescribed standards.
The progress of compliance is monitored periodically and quarterly reports are
given by CPCB based on inputs received from the concerned State Pollution
Control Boards (SPCBs). As on 31.12.99, out of 1551 industries, 1284 have so
far provided the necessary pollution control facilities, 153 industries have been
closed down and the remaining 114 industries are defaulting. Against all
defaulting units, legal action has been taken under the Environment
(Protection) Act, 1986 and in many cases the matter is pending with Hon'ble
Supreme Court. Almost all the defaulting units are either in the advanced
stages of installing the pollution control measures or under action for their
default. (Annual Report, MEF, 1999-2000; 77)

As per the directives of the National River Conservation Authority (NRCA),
the SPCPs and PCCs were requested by the CPCB to initiate necessary action
against the defaulting units along the rivers and takes and the list of them. The
criteria defined for identification of grossly polluting industries was followed
which include those which (i) discharge their effluents in a water course
including river and lakes, and (ii) are either involved of hazardous substance or
discharge effluents with a BOD of 1OOkg per day or more of both. The criteria
has now been revised after discussion with CPCB and SPCBs. They are;

(i) Industries discharging effluents into the rivers and lakes directly or
indirectly and effluent having BOD load of 1OOKg or more before


(ii) Industrial effluents containing toxicants having the effluent quantity

of 2KLD or more and discharging directly or indirectly into the rivers
and lakes;


(iii) Thermal power plants and coal coastries


(iv) A CETP or a cluster of industry covered/proposed to recovered

under Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP)

Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries

The programme on Zoning Atlas for siting of industries under the Environment
Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project of the World
Bank being implemented by the Central Pollution Control Board. It covers the
following components:

(i) Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries - it includes preparation of base
maps including land use or land cover, drainage, slope, hydro
geomorphology etc.

(ii) Industrial Estate Planning Studies - It includes base maps, drainage

and water shed maps, village location map, slope map and
environmental related maps for 9 sites.

(iii) Guidelines for Siting of Industries - State wise - the printing and
publication of maps for the following state has been completed in this
regard. They are Goa, Kerala, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir,
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Kamataka. The work
relating to States of Maharashtra, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab,
Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is in progress.

(iv) Environment Planning of Urban Areas - Training only- under this a

workshop is being conducted with Local Administration Government
Departments, NGOs, people's representatives, media academicians
etc. and then training programme is conducted for the planners from
Planning or Development Authorities for the said area keeping in view
the recommendations of the workshop. Environmental atlas of India, a
complication of information in the form of maps, texts and statistics,
taken up jointly by CPCB and NATMO, Calcutta is being published.

National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (NAAQ1\1) stations

To improve quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the
country, knowledge of Air quality status was a pre requiste, CPCB has
established a National Network of 290 monitoring stations spread over 92 cities
or towns in the Country. The results of such monitoring are published as annual
air quality statistics. The criteria pollutants like Sulphur-dioxide, Nitrogen
dioxide and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) are being monitored along
with meteorological parameters like wind speed, wind direction, temperature

and relative humidity. The sampling is done twice in a week for 24 hours. The
SPM is measured every eight hours whereas the gaseous pollutants are
measured every four hours. The monitoring is done by the respective State
Pollution Control Boards, except in few towns where CPCB has its own office
and monitoring stations.

When CPCB started this programme m 1984, 73 stations remained out of

operation even after one to eight years of their setting because delays m
procurement of instruments, non-availability of trained persons or daily wages,
access to public buildings, electricity connections etc. (PAC Report, 1784; 21)

The CPCB also monitors ambient air quality in 10 metro-cities for additional
parameters like ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, respirable suspended particulate
matter, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon through NEERI. These cities
are Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur,
Cochin, Kanpur and Nagpur. The results of such monitoring are used for
national planning of pollution control strategies for these cities.

World Bank has identified the strengthening of ambient air quality monitoring
of CPCB. The World Bank has agreed to provide Respirable Dust Samplers
(RDS) initially for 28 large cities in the country under the "National
Environmental Management Capacity Building Project". This will enable the
state Boards not only to acquire ambient air quality data with respect to P .M 10
but also other parameters like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and other gases
which are informative parameters.

Ambient Air Quality Monitoring in Delhi

The ambient air quality as monitored by CPCB during 1998 shows reduction in
levels of various pollutants in ambient air as compared to previous year. The
reducing trend was observed with respect to carbon monoxide, nitrogen
dioxide, lead, sulphur dioxide and suspended particulate matter at traffic
intersection at ITO and industrial areas with respect to nitrogen dioxide and

lead in residential areas. The reduction in pollutants is attributed to various
measures initiated during part several years for control of vehicular pollution.

Benzene Monitoring in Delhi

CPCB has been monitoring benzene concentration at seven locations since May
1999 comprising residential, industrial and commercial areas. The maximum
benzene concentration has been observed at ITO bridge with average monthly
value varying between 20 to 38 micrograms per cubic metre during May-
September, 1999. The monthly average values recorded at other stations during
the monitoring period varied between 13 to 26 micrograms per cubic metre.
The average monthly values were higher by a maximum factor of 2.4 at the
monitoring locations when compared with the United Kingdom's
recommended annual average limit of 16 micrograms per cubic metre. Overall
mean Benzene concentration of 17 micrograms per cubic metre for seven
location monitored during May-September 1999 are close to the running annual
mean standards of 16 micrograms per cubic metre of United Kingdom
(Parivesh, 99; 7)

Vehicular Pollution Monitoring in Delhi

Vehicular emission monitoring of 712 petrol driven vehicles comprising 400

two-wheelers, 246 four-wheelers and 66 three wheelers was conducted during
May-June, 1999. Out of the 400 two-wheelers monitoring 89.5% were meeting
the prescribed CO standard of 45%. 95% of the three wheelers complied with
the standards while 85% of the four-wheelers complied with the CO standard
of 3%. The vehicles registered during 1998-99 was having higher rate of
compliance than the older vehicles.

Hazardous Waste Management

Central Pollution Control Board has sponsored a project on "Inventorisation

and Management of Hazardous Waste Generation in various States". The
objective of the study was to identify potential hazardous waste generating

industries and waste category-wise quantification of hazardous waste
generation and to evaluate present method of hazardous waste management
practices adopted by industrial unit.

The study in the State of Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamilnadu are in final stages
of completion. The inventory report for the State of Gujarat, Jammu Province,
Punjab, Kerala and Orissa has been completed. The Reports for the State of
Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Union Territory of Pondicherry, Chadigarh,
Daman, Diu and Dadar Nagar Haveli and National Capital Region (Noida,
Ghaziabad, Merrut, Faridabad except Delhi) are in the process of completion.
During the study waste generation factors have also been arrived at some of the
important industrial sectors for assessment of hazardous waste generation.

All the above mentioned works or projects of Central Pollution Control Board
is illustrative but not exhaustive. It is not possible to capsulate everything in
limited space but they certainly provide the essence of the achievements. Apart
from these, the CPCB also prepared Comprehensive Industry Documents for
varieties of industries. It has not only consolidated 'its on-going programme for
district-wise Zoning Atlas for siting of industries, capacity building for control
of pollution but out reach activities involving the student and non-
governmental organisations. It has launched to promote green belt for pollution
abatement and environmental improvement. Green belt are capable of sorbing
air pollutants and forming sinks for pollutants. Leaves with their vast area in a
tree crown, absorb pollutants on their surface and affectively reduce their
concentrations in the ambient air, the sorbed pollutants often incorporated in
metabolic stream purify the air. Plants grow in such a way as to function as
pollutants sinks are referred to as green belts. An important aspect of the green
belt, sometimes overlooked, is that the plant constituting green belts are living
organisms with limits to their tolerance towards air pollutants.

CPCB has always been involved, since its inception in monitoring water
quality of the river Ganga and river Yamuna at different locations and with

diverse purposes. It has collected water quality profiles of 14 Major Rivers
with criteria, such as, dissolved oxygen, Biochemical oxygen Demand an total
coliforrns. These rivers are Baitrani, Brahmani, Brahmaputra, Cauvery, Ganga,
Godavri, Krishna, Mahi, Mahanadi, Narmada, Penner, Subarnrekha, Sutlej and

CPCB has prepared a State of Environment of some of the important cities of

India: In, 1999 it further covered Varodara, Na vi Mumbai, Ludhiana,
Jallandhar and Banglore under the project.

CPCB has been conducting ambient noise level monitoring since last 3-4 years
regularly during Deepawali Festival to know the impact of noise generated due
to bursting of fireworks and crackers in major cities of India.

In 1999, the CPCB has assessed the pollution in the following lakes of the
country- Ramgarh Lake, Gorakhpur Lake, Nainital Lake, Unprotected lakes in
Bangalore, Madivala Lake and Sanky Tank.

Under section 16 (2) c of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,
1974 and the section 16 (2) d of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution)
Act, 1981 research activities are to be carried out in various fields like
environmental monitoring, pollution assessment, pollution control, treatability
studies, standardization of analytical techniques, analytical quality control
(AQC), continuous monitoring of air and water quality and meteorological

The Central Pollution Control Board has constituted a Reference Material Task
Force (REMTAF) in 1996 to prepare Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) of
Gas Mixtures, Toxic Metals in Industrial Effluents/Sea Water/Human
Blood/Milk/Soil, Fly ash, and Bauxite etc.

The Central Pollution Control Board has sponsored a programme also with the
objective to evolve a low cost treatment technology, a three year demonstration
project to study the efficiency of treatment of waste water by duckweed and to

assess the economtc return from pisciculture (fed duckweed) as well as
evaluating the nutritive value of duckweed.

CPCB also imparts training in various aspects of prevention, abatement and

control of pollution to the identified target groups. The target groups include
officials dealing with planning, funding and implementation programmes for
prevention and control of pollution in the Central Government and State
Government, the Central and State Pollution Control Boards, the local bodies,
operators of industrial and municipal waste water treatment plants and NGOs,
engaged in management of pollution control programmes.

An NGO has been set up in CPCB to coordinate the following tasks:

• enlist environmental NGOs involved in activities related to pollution

control with CPCB;

• establish NGO network m consultation with State Pollution Control

Boards/Zonal offices;

• provide training to the NGOs and equip them with facilities like water
testing kits, analytical instrument, books, literature etc., in order to
enhance their capabilities in the field of pollution control; and

• organise mass awareness programmes and pollution control activities

through NGOs. (Annual Report, 1999-2000; 72)

The Central Pollution Control Board has launched its own website for the
dissemination of information status of air and water quality for a particular city
or river basin. In addition to air and water quality status, people can have
information about Eco-mark and can run through the Publications of CPCB.
The URL address of Central Pollution Control Board is:

CPCB has also a public complaint cell. The complaints are received directly
from individual, societies, NGOs and also through parliamentarians and
Ministers. The complaints are referred to State Boards/Committees for
necessary action. After receipt of reply from these Boards/Committees,
letter/reply is sent to the complainants and or Ministry as the case may be and
the complaint is considered to be disposed. In case of serious urgent nature,
CPCB makes its own investigation for redressal.

The Central Board collect, compile and publish scientific, technical and
statistical reports relating to pollution and measures to be taken for its effective
prevention, control and abatement. Manuals, codes, guidelines etc. relating to
pollution prevention and control are also prepared.

The Library of Central Board has more than 6000 scientific and technical
books on various aspects of pollution. In addition to books, it also houses
technical and scientific journals, newsletters and annual reports. CPCB library
acts as a document base to ENVIS (Environmental Information Centre) focal
centre, established by the Government of India for disseminating information
related to pollution prevention and control. The main activities of ENVIS
centre are:

• regular query response service;

• bringing out quarterly news letter 'Parivesh' on different themes;

• scanning journals for disseminating information to the scientific and

technical personnel of CPCB;

• providing daily in house paper clipping service for information of the

officers; and

• maintaining liaison with international organisations/institutions for

exchange of information on environment pollution and control.

A Distributed Information Centre (DIC), as a network partner of the ENVIS
was established in CPCB with a MoU reached and signed between the MEF,
Government of India and CPCB. Query response service (QRS) is the regular
activity of the ENVIS centre. Queries are received form the schools, colleges,
NGOs, consultants and technical institutions, government organisations in the
fields of air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, solid/ hazardous waste,
consultancy and mass awareness.

The Environment Surveillance Squad in the CPCB had carried out Surprise
check to ascertain as to whether the pollution control systems installed by the
major polluting industries are properly functioning. The State Pollution Control
Boards have also been directed to take similar action.

CPCB also issues environmental standards and guideline from time to time. In
1999, it notified the followings-:

• Noise Standard for fire crackers;

• Restriction for use of top soil within a radius of 50 kilometres from

thermal power plants; and

• Guidelines for Municipal solid waste management and handling.

In depth studies have been carried out and draft standard formulated in regard
to the following:

• Emission standards for petrol and kerosene Generator sets;

• Noise standards for portable Generator sets; and

• Noise standard for automobiles.

This, in brief, sums up is the organisation, powers, functions and achievements

of the Central Pollution Control Board.