MoEF issues stricter norms for controlling pollution from slaughterhouses in India

New Delhi(PTI): At a time when conflicts over beef, cow slaughter and meat exports are on the rise, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) has brought out fresh norms to tighten pollution generated in slaughterhouses across the country. There are around 4,000 authorised abattoirs in the country but it is the unorganised sector that generates the maximum pollution, said officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Although, there is no official count of the unauthorised abattoirs, ministry officials said that they may number more than 30,000. CPCB officials also said that it is the responsibility of civic bodies to manage solid waste and liquid waste scientifically who more often than not dump the organic solid waste from slaughterhouses into landfills. “The large professional slaughter houses are not a problem. The medium and small enterprises are the ones not adhering to norms. Also, each major city has slaughterhouses that have now aged and the waste disposal is outdated,” said a senior CPCB official requesting anonymity.

Slaughterhouses fall in the ‘B’ category of projects as per the environment impact assessment notification and thus only require state clearances. But according to some ministry officials, they may soon require a clearance from Centre too.

Though the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) already has norms in place to regulate this industry, its officials said that stricter norms and adoption of new technology is the need of the day.

The new norms have laid down effluent parameters and standards dividing them into two categories based on the size of the slaughter house. Large slaughterhouses and meat processing units slaughtering more than 200 large animals or more than 1,000 small animals have to meet stricter norms compared to the medium and small slaughterhouses. The slaughter houses also have to ensure scientific disposal of organic waste matter using approved technology.

Organic matter such as rumen, intestinal contents, meat trimming and inedible meat is largely left to rot and also causes diseases around landfills and near water bodies.

“The issue of pollution from slaughterhouses needs to attended to urgently as enforcement of norms has been poor. The effluents from this industry are either entering the groundwater or directly draining into water bodies,” the CPCB official added.