Source: PRS India
Recently the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Forest Change released a draft regulation on the use of membrane-based water purification systems. It bans the installation and use of certain membrane-based water purification systems, known as reverse osmosis (RO) systems. The regulation also seeks to amend the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which regulates protection and improvement of the environment.
About Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems
- Osmosis is the movement of solvent molecules from the region of pure solvent (area of low solute concentration) towards the solution (area of higher solute concentration) through a semipermeable membrane.
- Using the concept of osmosis and osmotic pressure, a process called reverse osmosis (RO) has been devised.
- RO is a process in which a large pressure is applied to the solution side so as to overcome the osmotic pressure.
Key features of draft regulation:
- Ban on use of RO systems in water purification: This ban is on systems subjected to conventional filtration and disinfection process or are from any source in compliance with the acceptable limit for drinking water prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standard.
- Responsibilities of commercial units who use RO systems to purify water: These include:
- Storing water that is lost in the purification process in safe and hygienic conditions
- Maintaining a record of water consumption, reject generation, reject disposal, discarded element generated, and their disposal, and
- Submitting this record to the state pollution control board annually.
- Responsibilities of manufacturers and producers: They include:
- Applying to the state pollution control board for grant of registration
- Providing a unique identification mark to each component manufactured for its traceability
- Equipping the purifiers with the real-time online flow to inform consumers of the total dissolved solids levels at the inlet and water outlet, and
- Setting up authorized collection centres for the collection of discarded elements from consumers or dealers.