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Waste oil exporters do not exist!!

Written By mediavigil on Thursday, January 08, 2009 | 2:01 AM

Unscrupulous traders in the garb of importing used oil or furnace oil, are importing waste oil which is a banned item. So far Environment Ministry has not taken any action on illegal hazardous waste imports. Issue of waste oil, a hazardous waste is still pending the Supreme Court. All through 2007, the court kept asking the the ministry of environment and forests to come out with clear guidelines to contain illegal waste oil trade in India but so far its directions has not been complied with.

The additional solicitor general was supposed to give a comprehensive note to the court in this regard to implement the recommendations of the Prof. M.G.K. Menon Committee on waste and used oil, set up by the court..

The court has asked the ministry to list out the importers, who illegally imported the 133 containers of waste oil, and make them pay for it. The court is yet to pass orders on the 209 other containers of waste oil which are lying at ports.

It has been brought to the notice of the Court that 15 importers, whose names and addresses are known, illegally imported waste oil in 133 containers in the garb of lubricating oil. Prof. Menon Committee's report (pp. 170-171) had noticed the presence of the consignment of this waste oil after the laboratory tests were undertaken.

The illustrative incidents of illegal handling of waste oil like the instance of illegal handling, the Inland Container Depot (ICD), Tughlakabad, Delhi released 51 containers of waste oil to two companies in the second week of February, 2003. And 16 containers were released to Faridabad-based Pal Chemicals Ltd and 35 to Ludhiana-based Om Udyog Ltd.

The other case pertains to Jawahar Customs, Nhava Sheva, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mumbai. Jawahar Customs published an auction notice for 273.16 metric tonnes of waste oil in the Mumbai edition of a national daily on February 13, 2003. The auction was scheduled to take place within the JNPT premises.

According to the definition, waste oil, which comes off ships, contains spills of crude oil, tank-bottom sludge, used fuel remains, emulsions and slop oil, and is highly hazardous. Across the world, such oil has to be reprocessed for recycled use, as they contain toxic levels of cadmium, chromium, arsenic, lead, sulphur and halogens, among other substances. When improperly processed waste oil is burnt in plants, all the harmful constituents are released into the atmosphere as dioxins and furans, which are proven cancer-causing toxins.

Ministry of environment and forests has made registration mandatory for all units recycling oil since 2000 but the illegal recycling of waste oil continues impunity.

The situation has worsened after the Supreme Court order dated 14 October, 2003 that called for tightening of norms because of ports lack of adequate equipment and capacity to test and track where the waste oil goes.

According to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, called the Marpol Convention, ports are required to have storage and incineration facilities for hazardous oil. Our ports do not have such facilities and the oil is directly given to recyclers without testing for percentage of contaminants. Because it is given away directly, it is virtually impossible for Pollution Control Boards to either know the content of the oil or to track its movement.

Earlier, the court had ordered on May 5, 1997,"no authorisation or permission (for hazardous waste) would be given to any authority ... which has already been banned by the Union government or by any order made by any court or any other authority...(In addition to this) no import would be made or permitted … under the Basel Convention."

In 2006, NERRI's Status Report on Management of Hazardous Waste in India noted, " Lack of laboratory facilities for analysis of trace organics such as PCBs could either result in holding up of supplies for long periods of time merely on grounds of suspicion or lead to illegal imports of waste oil under the garb of used oil. As a first step, a through assessment of laboratory facilities available at all the ports, in particular, facilities available both in terms of equipment and trained man-power and equipment for analysis of all important heavy metals and trace organics, should be taken up and a time-bound plan prepared for their upgradation. Till such time all the ports are upgraded both in terms of equipment and training of laboratory personnel,, it would be necessary to consider channelisation of all hazardous wastes through selected ports well equipped to handle them and for this purpose, ports may be categorised suitably."

Arul Rajan, Proprietor of Chennai based ARUL EXPORTS & IMPORTS has posted an advertisement dated 15th February, 2008 saying, "We need waste oil in large quantity. Interested parties contact with full details." This ad is valid till February 14,2009 . If importing waste oil is indeed a banned item, how come such ads are being published.
The connivance of ministries concerned is quite manifest.

In February 2002, the Supreme Court had fined the Ministry of Environment & Forests Rs.10,000 for not having complied with its orders regarding the disappearance of hazardous waste oil from major ports in the country. The waste oil was imported into the country as lubricants. Perhaps the apex court may be compelled to once again impose penalties on the government and the culprits.
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Leaked Internal Memo
LAWRENCE SUMMERS / Chief Economist of the World Bank 12dec91
DATE: December 12, 1991
TO: Distribution
FR: Lawrence H. Summers [Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank]
Subject: GEP
'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:
1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.
The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.

Who's Lawrence Summers
Lawrence H. Summers was sworn in as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury on July 2, 1999.
From August 11, 1995 to July 2, 1999, Mr. Summers served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under Secretary Robert E. Rubin. Working closely to support Secretary Rubin, he played a leading role in the Departments work on issues related to international economic and financial policy, tax policy, the nations financial system, domestic policy and enforcement. From April 5, 1993 to August 10, 1995, Mr. Summers served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. In that position, he had broad responsibility assisting then-Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen in the formulation and execution of international economic policies.
Prior to joining the Administration, Mr. Summers served as Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank from 1991 to 1993. As Chief Economist he sat on the Banks Loan Committee, played a key role in the design of country assistance strategies and had overall responsibility for the Banks research, statistics and external training programs.
From 1983 to 1993, Mr. Summers was a professor of economics at Harvard University. In 1987, he was named the Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy. Mr. Summers served as a Domestic Policy Economist on the Presidents Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1983 and served on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics department from 1979 to 1982.

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