New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Old tyres are a menace around the world and more so in India, where there is rampant use of end-of-life tyres for pyrolysis, an environmental hazard that is banned in developed countries, as this process emits life threatening gases, according to the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association (ATRA).
Pyrolysis is a process where the material is put through a thermochemical treatment under high temperature to produce industrial oil and other matters.
“India has a huge demand for used tyres for the purpose of pyrolysis. These tyres are imported in the form of bales rather than shred. A large chunk of such import comes from Australia,” ATRA Executive Officer Robert Kelman said.
Citing industry sources, Kelman said Rajasthan alone is reported to have around 150 separate pyrolysis plants and there may be around 2,000 plants around the country using used tyres.
He further noted that used tyre pyrolysis has not proved itself commercially viable anywhere in the developed world (OECD member countries) because the products manufactured are of very low quality and therefore not profitable to sell.
Moreover, the emission controls required to meet environmental regulations again make the practice prohibitive. ATRA has banned the practice of used tyre pyrolysis for all its members because of its harmful effects and little commercial rationale.
The Indian pyrolysis plants that ATRA visited were simply boilers with smoke stacks and extremely basic technology.
“As such there are virtually no emission capturing or control devices. Additionally, occupational health and safety standards were also virtually non-existent with staff wearing no breathing masks, etc,” Kelman added.
According to Gaurav Sekhri, Director, Tinna Group – an Indian tyre recycler, waste tyre collection is completely unorganised and is in the hands of unskilled workforce.
More than 1.5 billion waste tyres are generated every year globally and 6 per cent of all waste tyres are generated in India.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has a well-defined Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for operation of such plants. However, only a very small percentage of these plants are partially compliant with the SOP.
“The government should shut down all illegally operating pyrolysis plants that are not compliant with the SOP,” Sekhri said.
Sekhri further noted that stricter norms for granting permission for import of waste tyres are required.
Permission should be given only to a company having mechanical recycling equipment for processing of waste tyres in an environment friendly manner.
Such companies must submit end use certificate and power consumption bill to show genuine in-house processing of waste tyres and who their end customers are. This should be certified by an independent auditor, he added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.