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How to Get a Pollution Certificate/License for business in India?

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How to get a Pollution Certificate / License for business in India?

A pollution license/certificate is a written official consent from the State Pollution Control Board to establish or operate any business that has the potential of generating pollutants or ‘trade effluents.’

What are trade effluents?

  • Chemical waste
  • Smoke emissions (including smoke from cooking)
  • Fly ashes
  • Detergent washing remnants
  • Medical waste

Required consent certificates for Pollution license:

Consent to Establish: Prior to the commencement of activities of starting the business, like construction, it is mandatory to acquire official consent to establish a business from the State Pollution Control Board. Only after acquiring this CTE (consent to establish) can any individual initiate the construction or set up the business phase.

Consent to Operate: Once this setting up phase is completed, that is to say, the construction is completed, and the building is ready to function as the headquarters of the business, the individual must mandatorily acquire a second official consent from the State Pollution Control Board that is, the consent to operate or the CTO. This official consent that allows the individual to initiate operations in the building is valid for five years from the date of receiving the consent. However, the validity of the consent may differ in other states.

Categories of Industries:

All existing industrial sectors are classified into four categories, namely, red, orange, green, and white categories. The Ministry of Environment carries out this classification, Forest and Climate Change, to differentiate between industries with the highest pollution index and those with the lowest.

Red category: The industries with highest pollution index belong to the red category in the sense that it generates the highest amount of emissions, effluents, and hazardous waste, and consumes the highest percentage of resources. Industries like large-scale manufacturing industries, international restaurants, and super-specialty hospitals come under the red category with the largest amount of pollutants flushed out into the atmosphere. According to a press release by the Environment Ministry, industrial sectors having a pollution index of 60 and above belong to the red category.

Orange category: Medium-sized industries with a pollution index score of 41 to 59 belong to the orange category, with comparatively reduced levels of pollutant emissions. The orange category includes industries like cashew nut processing, coffee seed processing, pharmaceutical formulation, fish processing and packaging, ply-board manufacturing, automobile servicing and repairing, tobacco products manufacturing, thermocol manufacturing, spray painting, and such.

Green category: Industries with a low pollution index score of 21 to 40 belongs to the green category. Industries including but not limited to small bakeries, storage of food grains, leather footwear, and products, cement products, ceramic color by mixing, glue from starch, flour mills, tires or tubes retreating, small hotels, sawmills, phenyl/toilet cleaners, poultry, hatchery and piggery, gold and silver smithy, tea processing are all industries belonging to the green category.

White category: A fairly new classification, industries belonging to the white category are practically non-polluting, with the lowest pollution index score of anywhere up to 20. Biscuit trays, rolled PVC sheet (using automatic vacuum forming machines), cotton and woolen hosiery making (without dyeing or washing), electric lamp (bulb) and CFL manufacturing, scientific and mathematical instrument manufacturing, handloom or carpet weaving, coir items from coconut husks, organic manure are all industries belonging to the white category.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining Pollution License/CTO:

The categorization of industries into four based on their respective pollution index score has helped in ensuring that any industry is constructed and operated in a manner consistent with environmental policies and objectives. The introduction of the fourth category of white non-polluting industries has urged industrial sectors to adopt cleaner manufacturing methods, hence leading to lesser pollution. Such categorization has also prompted industries to self-assess themselves and their manufacturing and waste management methodologies.

The following industries are eligible to apply for a pollution license/CTO:

  • Industries belonging to the red category must mandatorily acquire pollution licenses and will not be permitted to function in ecologically fragile or protected areas.
  • Industries belonging to the orange category.
  • Industries belonging to the green category.

Industries belonging to the white category do not require the CTO or CTE. Such industries only need to intimate the concerned SPCB or PCC prior to construction or operation initiation.

Pollution Index:

The categorization of industries into red, orange, green, and white is based on the industries’ pollution index score. “Pollution index is a function of the emissions (air pollutants), effluents (water pollutants), hazardous wastes generated and the consumption of resources.” This classification is also based on the number of raw materials used, the process of manufacturing, and the number of potential pollutants. In the current categorization, 60 industries belong to the red category, 83 to the orange, 63 to the green, and 36 industrial sectors to the white category of non-polluting industries.

Even though the industries belonging to the white category do not require a CTO/CTE or a pollution license, these industries must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The industry must be located in the industrial zones/estates demarcated for the purpose.
  • Only up to INR 1 crore is invested in the industrial plant and its machinery.
  • The industry will emit any form of pollutants, including air, water, chemicals, to any stream/well/sewage or cause noise pollution.

Documents Required For CTO/CTE:

Given below is a list of general documents that must be furnished for obtaining a CTO/CTE.

  • Satellite image of the project location
  • The layout of the project location
  • Project report with details of manufacturing methods and raw materials
  • Proof of Investment
  • Environmental statement
  • NOC Compliance report/Consent conditions in the form
  • Certificate of completion of the effluent treatment plant or add-on pollution control
  • Compliance with Environment clearance criteria

For water consent/NOC:

  • Compliance with water consent clauses
  • Reports of treated wastewater analysis
  • Water cess returns
  • Effluent Treatment Plant report/Sewage treatment plant report
  • The layout of the effluent treatment plant and sewage treatment plant

For air consent/NOC:

  • Specifications of air pollution control facility
  • Drawing of monitoring facility
  • Report of emission analysis
  • Compliance with air consent clauses

For authorization of chemical/hazardous waste:

  • Incinerator details
  • Details of hazardous wastes generated.
  • Compliance with hazardous waste authorization clauses

For information on documents to be furnished for obtaining a CTE (consent to establish) will be available on your State’s pollution control board website. If an individual fails to obtain a CTE/CTO or Pollution license, they will be subject to 6 months to 1 year of imprisonment, with chances of a 6-year extension and penalty charges.

How to Apply for A Pollution License:

  • Obtain NOC/CTE
  • Submit an application with site details, plans for pollution control, and industry registration certificates to the state pollution control board’s regional officer. NOC may be obtained from regional officers.
  • You may submit your application online by logging onto your State’s pollution control board’s website.

State Wise Websites List:

1. Andhra Pradesh – https://pcb.ap.gov.in/content-management-cfe.aspx
2. Arunachal Pradesh – https://eservice.arunachal.gov.in/
3. Assam – http://pcbassam.org/consent.htm
4. Bihar – http://www.bspcb.bih.nic.in/
5. Chhattisgarh – https://enviscecb.org/
6. Goa – http://goaspcb.gov.in/
7. Haryana – https://hspcb.gov.in/
8. Himachal Pradesh – https://hppcb.nic.in/
9. Jharkhand – https://www.jspcb.nic.in/
10. Karnataka – https://kspcb.karnataka.gov.in/
11. Keralahttps://www.keralapcb.nic.in/
12. Madhya Pradesh – http://www.mppcb.nic.in/
13. Maharashtra – https://mpcb.gov.in/node
14. Manipur – http://manipur.spcb.co.in/
15. Meghalaya – http://megspcb.gov.in/
16. Mizoram – https://mpcb.mizoram.gov.in/
17. Nagaland – https://npcb.nagaland.gov.in/
18. Odisha – http://ospcboard.org/
19. Punjab – http://www.ppcb.gov.in/
20. Rajasthan – http://environment.rajasthan.gov.in/
21. Sikkim – https://skocmms.nic.in/
22. Tamil Nadu – https://tnpcb.gov.in/
23. Telangana – https://tspcb.cgg.gov.in/
24. Tripura – http://trpenvis.nic.in/
25. Uttarakhand – https://ueppcb.uk.gov.in/
26. Uttar Pradesh – http://www.uppcb.com/
27. West Bengal – https://www.wbpcb.gov.in/

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Pollution Certificates FAQs:

1. Who issues pollution licenses/certificates?

State Pollution Control board issues NOC and Pollution license to industries.

2. Which industries do not require a CTO/CTE/NOC/Pollution license?

Industries belonging to the white category does not require CTO/CTE/NOC/Pollution license as they are non-polluting.

3. What is the validity period of CTO (Consent to Operate) for industries in the red category?

The CTO issued to red category industries is valid up to five years from the date of issue. Penalty charges apply if you do not reapply for extension/renewal of CTO.

4. What is the validity period of CTO (Consent to Operate) for industries in the orange category?

The CTO issued to orange category industries is valid up to ten years from the date of issue. Penalty charges apply if you do not reapply for extension/renewal of CTO.

5. What is the validity period of CTO (Consent to Operate) for industries in the green category?

The CTO issued to green category industries is valid up to seven to fifteen years from the date of issue. However, for green category industries, the validity of CTO issued differs based on the State’s policies. Penalty charges apply if you do not reapply for extension/renewal of CTO.

6. When should the industry renew CTO?

The applicant must renew the consent at least 1 month before the validity expiry.

7. When will the CTO validity of red category industries end?

The red category industries are issued CTO valid up to the end of March.

8. When will the CTO validity of orange category industries end?

The orange category industries are issued CTO valid up to the end of September.

9. When will the CTO validity of green category industries end?

The green category industries are issued CTO valid up to the end of December.

10. How is the pollution index score of an industry calculated?

It is based on the number of potential emissions (air, water, and hazardous waste pollutants) and on the use of raw materials.


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