India to Ban the Use of PCBs

On 6 April 2016, Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) published the Notification of Regulation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Order which will phase out and eventually ban the manufacture, import and use of PCBs in India. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are biphenyls whose hydrogen atoms are replaced by chlorine atoms. They are regarded as carcinogenic substances and will accumulate in adipose tissues and affect the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems. The UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was issued on 22 May 2001 and went into effect from 17 May 2004. The convention stipulated that PCBs and equipment containing PCBs should be totally banned by 2025. India is a participant of the Convention and ratified it two years later on 13 Jan 2006. The regulation issued by MOEFCC is a response to the obligations brought by the UN Convention. According to the Regulation, the PCBs will be banned in 2 stages:

  1. The manufacture and import of PCBs and the import of equipment containing PCBs are banned immediately after the issuance of the Notification.
  2. The use of PCBs of any other form will be banned no later than 31 December 2025.

In the meantime, before PCBs are totally banned, equipment containing PCBs must be maintained and stored properly in order to avoid any leakage into the environment. Enterprises should declare the total quantity of PCBs they possess and equipment containing PCBs to MOEFCC by 6 Apr 2017. Also it’s prohibited to discharge the PCBs on land, surface water and sewage treatment plants. The prohibition of PCBs will have an immense impact on the energy sector because PCBs are widely used as coolants and lubricants in transformers and other power devices. So power plants will have a huge workload to upgrade or replace equipment containing PCBs. However, the scientific research and development use in public universities and research laboratories or at the Central Power Research Institute will not be affected by the prohibition, if they have permissions granted by the MOEFCC. The disposal procedures should follow the government’s provisions on disposal of hazardous wastes.

Chemlinked, 17 May 2016 ;<ahref=””>