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Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has “insisted” that the Ministry of Railways devise a modern environmental management plan to control air, water and noise pollution at major railway stations.


  • The CPCB had called for the formation of a joint committee comprising Railway and State government/local body officials to ensure basic civic amenities and improve environment conditions at Class-I stations.
  • The move follows a recent high-level meeting convened by the CPCB involving top officials of the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Development.
  • The Railways in turn requested the CPCB to assign due weightage to different components/parameters in the template for environment performance based on rating of railway stations that are currently under review by the CPCB.
  • However, the central agency insisted on developing a modern environmental plan to address issues relating to air, water and noise pollution in each of the 720 stations taken up for assessment across the country.
  • Joint inspections conducted by the Central and State pollution control authorities at select stations in the last two years revealed that a majority of them had not complied with the green norms under various statutory rules of the CPCB.

These stations had not obtained necessary approvals under the

  1. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
  2. Air (Prevention and Control of Air Pollution) Act, 1981,
  3. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

which was also insisted upon by the National Green Tribunal.

Way Forward

  • The CPCB in its report mentioned the information and data needed for carrying out such a study was inadequate, preventing it to perform a complete adequacy study of the system.
  • The CPCB, however, helped bring this information — which otherwise could not be traced — in the public domain.
  • Railway stations need to gear up in this direction and are required to create a separate department that looks into the aspect of environmental management at railway premises.
  • The performance of 36 stations is not acceptable at the current stage and requires considerable improvement.
  • This study was conducted for only five per cent of 720 stations, with similar studies required for the remaining stations as well.
  • The performance improvement for these stations is the need of the hour so this can be replicated in other stations as well.

-Source: The Hindu, Down to Earth Magazine

April 2024