The Supreme Court on Tuesday banned the use and sale of petroleum coke – a dirtier alternative to coal – in Delhi and the National Capital Region, Reuters reported. The top court also prohibited the use of furnace oil in and around the national Capital, in a bid to reduce pollution.

The ban on the use and sale of petroleum coke will come into effect from November 1. “It is a big win for clean air,” environmental activist Sunita Narain told Reuters.

Public advocacy organisation Centre for Science and Environment welcomed the Supreme Court order. It said the directive was “a big win for Delhi-NCR as well as the rest of the country fighting a tough battle against toxic pollution”.

On October 9, the top court had banned the sale of firecrackers in the region during Diwali. A petition, filed in the name of three children, had requested the court to reimpose the ban, citing high pollution levels during the festival.

Top court fines Centre

The Supreme Court also fined the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Rs 2 lakh for not finalising pollution emission standards for industries that use pet coke and furnace oil in Delhi and the National Capital Region, PTI reported.

“You tell us, what you were doing for three-four months?” a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who represented the government. The court was referring to its June 30 direction to the ministry to finalise emission standards.

“Industries have said they will comply with whatever standards are fixed,” the court said. “Industries say so, and the ministry sits on it. We do not know what is going on.”