US exporting dirty fuel to already pollution choked India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Prelims level: Petcoke
Mains level: Environmental Dumping example; Sources of Pollution; Balancing Environmental Conservation and Developmental Needs

News

  1. US oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
  2. The US is the biggest producer and exporter of petcoke in the world.
  3. India, last year got almost a fourth of the fuel grade “petcoke” the US ships.
  4. Last year, 65 percent of India’s petcoke came from the US
Petroleum Coke (Petcoke)
  1. Petroleum coke, the leftover from refining Canadian tar sands and other heavy crude, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal.
  2. It also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur – a key reason few American companies use it.
Rationale for use
  1. Industry officials say petcoke has been an important fuel for decades, and its use recycles a waste product.
Effect
  1. The petcoke burned in countless factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India.
  2. Environmental Pollution Control Authority: imported petcoke used near the capital has 17 times more sulfur than the limit for coal
  3. India’s own petcoke, produced domestically, adds to the pollution.
  4. Health and environmental advocates say the US is exporting an environmental problem.
  5. It’s impossible to gauge how much pollution is from petcoke versus other sources. But experts say it is contributing to the problem.
Measures Taken
  1. The Supreme Court banned petcoke use by some industries in states surrounding the capital and demanded pollution standards that could further limit use nationwide.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States
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