If you plan to start a business that may generate potentially hazardous waste or pollutants, you must obtain a pollution certificate from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). The pollution licence or certificate is written consent to establish or operate a business.

Environmentally hazardous wastes such as chemical wastes, medical wastes, fly ash, smoke emissions and detergent remains are referred to as trade effluents. If your factory discharges any of these trade effluents into the environment, contact SPCB and obtain the pollution licence.

The online pollution certificate for factory operations can be obtained from the official website of the State Pollution Control Board. The website varies depending on the state in which you wish to establish a business. See the table in the end for the official websites for each state:

How to Obtain the Pollution Certificate/Licence for Business?

Follow these steps to get the pollution licence for your business:

  • Step 1: Before getting a pollution licence to start a business, you must get a consent certificate called CTE (Consent To Establish). 
  • Step 2: CTE is to be obtained before participating in any activities before business initiation. After obtaining this consent certificate, you can construct the building where you intend to carry out the core business activities. 
  • Step 3: After constructing the building, get a CTO (Consent To Operate) which is also known as pollution licence/certificate. Both these consent certificates are to be obtained from the State Board Pollution Control Board. 
  • Step 4: Once you obtain the pollution certificate, it remains valid for up to 5 years. This duration may vary as per the state in which you plan to conduct the business. 

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Eligible Industries for Obtaining Pollution Licence?

Different types of industries are classified into four categories according to their pollution index. These categories include:

  1. Red Category

The industries that release severe types of pollutants (pollution index of 60 or above) fall into the red category. Large manufacturing businesses, international hotels, multi-speciality hospitals, and other industries that release effluents, hazardous chemicals, emissions and other pollutants fall into this category. 

  • Orange Category

The industries that release relatively lesser pollutants (pollution index falls between 41 to 59) fall into the orange category. Food processing plants, medical supplies or pharmaceutical companies, car servicing companies, etc. belong to this category. 

  • Green Category

The industries that have a lower pollution index (from 21 to 40) fall into the green category. Small bakeries, flour mills, sawmills, poultries, leather footwear companies, etc. belong to this category. 

  • White Category

The industries that release no or negligible pollutants fall into the white category. Companies that manufacture CFL bulbs, cotton or woollen hosiery, electric lamps, etc. fall into this category. 

The industries that belong to the white category do not have to obtain the pollution licence/CTO and CTE. Yet, they must inform the SPCB before initiating any construction on the site or starting the business operations. 

Due to the formation of the white category and its associated benefits, it is better to start a business that creates a minimum impact on the environment.

Industries that belong to the green and orange categories can apply for the CTO or pollution certificate. The industries belonging to the red category cannot operate in forest-protected and ecologically sensitive areas. 

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Application Process to Get Pollution Licence

Follow these steps to obtain the online pollution certificate for factory operations:

  • Step 1: First, get the CTE (Consent To Establish) or NOC from the SBPC. NOC is to be acquired from the SBPC’s regional officers. 
  • Step 2: After obtaining the NOC/CTE, fill out the application form with all the details regarding site location, business, industry registration, etc. Submit the application form along with some specific documents to the regional officer of SBPC.
  • Step 3: Alternatively, you can also log in to your respective SBPC’s official website and get the online pollution certificate for factory operations. 

List of Documents to Obtain for a Factory Pollution Certificate

The documents required for the pollution certificate are listed below:

  • Project location’s detailed layout
  • Project location’s satellite image
  • A project report with all the relevant details of raw materials and manufacturing processes
  • Environmental Statement
  • Investment proof
  • NOC compliance report
  • Effluent treatment plant’s completion certificate
  • Compliance with environmental clearance criteria 

Apart from the above-listed documents, the following documents are to be submitted to the regional officer:

  • A detailed pollution control proposal
  • PAN and Aadhaar Card copies of the proprietor/directors/partners
  • Land ownership documents (sales deed)

Some additional documents may be required including:

  • Ambient air quality reports
  • Site plans or index presenting the surroundings

Visit the official site of your respective SBPC to check the complete list of documents to be submitted along with the application form. 

Serial NumberState Official Website 
1West Bengal https://www.wbpcb.gov.in/ 
2Uttar Pradesh http://www.uppcb.com/ 
6Tamil Naduhttps://tnpcb.gov.in/ 
16Madhya Pradeshhttp://www.mppcb.nic.in/ 
20Himachal Pradeshhttps://hppcb.nic.in/ 
26Arunachal Pradeshhttps://eservice.arunachal.gov.in/ 
27Andhra Pradeshhttps://pcb.ap.gov.in/content-management-cfe.aspx 


The long list of documents and processes to obtain a pollution licence may complicate the process, especially if you are a newbie entrepreneur. Seek expert help to get a better understanding of the environmental compliances and documents. 

As an entrepreneur, your focus must be on minimising waste production and managing industrial waste. These things will help you get quick approvals from the State Board For Pollution Control. 

By indifi

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