Hyderabad: A problem worse than plastic could be plaguing Hyderabad. While the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation cracks down on plastic bags of less than 40 microns, environmentalists believe it is the import of thousands of tonnes of scrap tyres that is of immediate concern.
According to published data, massive shipments of used tyres are being dumped in Hyderabad from the US, United Kingdom and West Asia.
Reports claim the harm to the environment could be worse than plastic because when rubber burns, toxins that could be carcinogenic are released into the air.
Data collated by independent market research company Info Drive India reports that India imported scrap tyres worth Rs 15 crore between just September 2016 and November 2016. Hyderabad imported 6,82,020 kg of these scrap tyres between January and November of the same year.
Though more recent data on import of scrap tyres is not available, the Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association in New Delhi explains why they continue to be a health hazard and why it is lobbying hard to ban their import altogether.
Mr Vinay Vijayvargiya, deputy director, technical, pointed out two main concerns.
He said, “The foreign countries want a dumping ground for used tyres. So they give them away at throwaway prices.
“Once imported, they sell like hot cakes across India. They are either reused in vehicles, even though they are unsuitable for our roads and are hazardous, or are burnt in pyrolysis plants to get cheap fuels and oils.” Pyrolysis plants across India have recently come under the scanner of several states for failing to meet environmental pollution standards.
When norms are flouted in tyre pyrolysis, it can produce a dangerous mix of heavy metals, benzene, dioxins, furans and other organic chemicals, some of which are highly carcinogenic, according to reports. Several such plants in Maharashtra and Gujarat have been banned in recent years.
Though several pyrolysis plants have been closed in Telangana too in recent years, for flouting pollution norms, the Telangana State Pollution Control Board confirmed that there are 87 such plants still in operation including in Warangal, Medak, Mahbubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts....