No More Illegal Coke Oven Factories Operating In Meghalaya: CM Conrad Sangma

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No More Illegal Coke Oven Factories Operating In Meghalaya: CM Conrad Sangma

Responding to allegations of illegal coke oven factories in Meghalaya, CM Sangma has thrashed the rumours and accusations as misleading and false. He stated that all unlawful coke-oven factories had been sealed shut.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma stated on Tuesday, June 7, that all illegal coke-oven factories had been sealed shut. He responded to allegations made by people and further claimed that whichever factory had been working before had been asked to close down.

Further, he remarked that the remaining coke-oven factories, which are still operating, have all environmental clearances and government-approved paperwork.

How Did The Illegal Coke Factory Issue Start?

A petition alleging illegal coke oven plants operating in East Jaintia Hills district by Pynbait Sutnga was made in 2021. The factories were producing harmful toxins and were violating the health norms set under environmental conservation. They were responsible for water pollution and the damage to locals' health in Sutnga Elaka, as reported by Hub News.

Considering the petition, on December 9, 2021, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered both Central and state governments on coke-oven factories. It also passed several directives to Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board, Deputy Commissioner, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Coke-Oven Factories: An Environmental Bane

A coke oven is where coal is heated by depriving the process of any oxygen at 1250 degrees Celsius. After the impurities are segregated from the coal, it becomes coke. Coke is an all-carbon fuel with a highly hazardous distillation process.

The process includes heating coal for a very long time, leaving the environment full of dangerous toxins and degrading the health of workers and people living around the factories, as cited in Northeast Now.

Being exposed to coke-oven emissions can lead to a high risk of developing lung and kidney cancer, according to USA's National Cancer Institute.

These toxic emissions are made up of vapours, dust, and gases which consist of cadmium and arsenic. The chemicals from the coke oven factories are further utilised in making plastic, dyes, paints, insulations and solvents.

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