The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to conduct a study to ascertain whether the use of charcoal as fuel in industries has any adverse impact on the environment. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim and Expert Member Nagin Nanda recently asked the ministry to examine the process involved in production of charcoal and submit a report to the tribunal within four weeks.
“We direct MoEF to examine this issue, conduct a study and submit its report positively within four weeks as so far no study has been conducted in this regard,” the bench said. The matter is listed for next hearing on July 17. The MoEF counsel had earlier told the tribunal that it had engaged the Institute of Forest Management to conduct a detailed study on the issue.
However, the ministry said it had not considered whether the process involved in production of charcoal would be environmentally friendly or not as no study had been conducted on the issue. The Indian Institute of Sustainable Development had filed a plea alleging that trees were being indiscriminately cut for use as charcoal. The NGO had also sought a ban on the use of charcoal as fuel or raw material in industries across the country.
Noting that the indiscriminate and illegal felling of trees would lead to environmental disaster, NGT had earlier imposed a ban on the cutting of trees without clearance from “appropriate authorities”. “There shall be an order of injunction against companies/authorities from illegally cutting trees in the forest areas in the whole of country to be used for charcoal without obtaining environmental/forest clearance or permission from appropriate authorities,” the bench had said.