India: Rice Mills too shut down transitorily to control pollution

November 21, 2018


The increased dependence on high quantities of energy sources for meeting the needs of the modern man has resulted in exploitation of mother nature by suffocating the nearby ecosystem with dangerous effluents thereby making it unfit for all forms of life. The deteriorating conditions has caused great concern to the Government requiring it to take urgent and severe measures for environmental protection and retain clean air for breathing.

Cause of Pollution

The unwarranted and rampant usage of non-renewable sources of energy has raised the amount of toxic   discharge of undesirable toxic and damaging elements in the natural habitat. There has been inadequate disposal of remnants of energy resources used for purposes of industrial usage, vehicular needs, crop destruction, construction activities, burning of garbage, thermal energy, etc. Worsening the situation further, there is inducement of the environment damaging components in the form of man-made pollutants such as plastic, chemicals, firecrackers, electric/ electronic equipment, radioactive/ nuclear wastes, etc.

Consequences of pollution

Owing to various sources of pollution degrading the quality of life, the earth has now become a chocking chamber with immensely high quantities of poisonous elements accelerating the process of destruction of all life forms prevalent. Elevation in pollution has resulted in the accumulation of problems such as dermatological issues, chronic respiratory disorders, cardiovascular problems, retardation of foetal growth, etc. This has affected most to the children and old people. It has also caused in death and extinction of various species which once resided on the planet, making an ecological imbalance in the co-existent natural system.

Handling the menace

  • Legislative measures

Numerous legislative measures have been devised with the objective of conservation and improvement of environment such as Environment Protection Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, etc. In order to ensure effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 was enforced.

  • Administrative efforts

The Government has been consistently working towards creating awareness and encouraging participation of the citizens in its campaigns aimed at the well-being and conservation of the environment such as “Beat Plastic Pollution”[1], Green Good Deeds[2], Electric Vehicle promotion[3], schemes motivating for shared mobility[4], Graded Response Action Plan for handling air pollution, requiring compliance Bharat Standard- VI emission standards, subsidy for replacing/ conversion of coal-based tandoors with cleaner fuel options[5], etc.

  • Judicial remedy

Stringent instructions have been passed by the judicial bodies of the country to ascertain non-breach of the standards for safeguarding environmental set before the citizens of the country. Some of the deterrent orders passed in this regard include the use of Compressed Natural Gas vehicles in Delhi airport only for buses and coaches [6]; fines  imposition on different States for non-submission of solid waste management policy [7]; barring the manufacture/ sale of non- Bharat Standard- VI emission standards after March 31, 2020[8]; prohibition on plying of 15-year old petrol and 10-year old diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region (hereinafter referred to as “NCR”)[9]; bursting of ‘green’ crackers at restricted time intervals[10]; imposition of penal liabilities, halt of all construction activities, industries using coal/ biomass in NCR from November 1, 2018 – November 10, 2018 [11]

Further control

Considering the sensitivity and the need to address to the problem of increasing pollution, the Government has been taking immediate steps indicating its no tolerance policy towards the same. In furtherance to the same, the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority has directed around 500 rice mills across Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop operations from November 4, 2018.[12] This comes as a precaution to protect against the alarming pollution levels. However, it may result in loss to the industry and the interests of the farmers as rice is seasonal crop.

As the festival season approaches nearer, there is a likelihood of the air quality index dipping further. To reduce the adverse effects of rising pollution levels, contributions are being made by all levels of the governing authorities. A transitory halt to the activities introducing inappropriate emissions in the environment could help reduce its burden.



[2] Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change notification dated February 3, 2018




[6] Supreme Court Civil Appeal No.4954-4957/2018

[7] In Re: Outrage as Parents End Life After Childs Dengue [SMW (C) No(s).1/2015]

[8] SC Writ Petition (Civil) No. 13029 of 1985


[10] SC Writ Petition (Civil) No. 728 of 2015



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