Thermal plants nowhere near to complying with new norms: report

Thermal plants nowhere near to complying with new norms: report

New Delhi: Most thermal power plants are not in a position to shift to a new emission standard, which will kick in from December, says a new analysis by environmentalists

The norms were notified two years ago by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

After extensive consultation with the power industry, the ministry in December 2015 notified a fresh set of standards with the underlying objective of improving air quality in and around thermal power plants by reducing the release of particulate matter (PM-10) and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen in the air.

Though the industry was given two years to comply, there has been very little progress so far.

Most power plants had not even started the planning process that should include an assessment of the required pollution control technology and investment, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) claimed on Thursday in a new assessment.

Instead, the Ministry of Power and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) consistently tried to push the deadline instead of compelling the companies to instal pollution control equipment, CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said.

Of the total emissions from the industrial sector, the power sector alone contributes 60% particulate matter, 45% of sulphur dioxide, 30% of the nitrogen oxides and 80% of the mercury emissions.

Last week, a University of Maryland study showed that since 2007, China's sulphur dioxide emissions fell by 75%, while India's emissions increased by 50%.

It suggests India is on its way to be the world's top sulphur dioxide emitter.

The CEA has now recommended that power plants be given another five years – extending the deadline from 2017 to 2022 – to comply with the new norms.

"Another five years to meet these standards is unacceptable. Power plants have already wasted two years doing virtually nothing," said Bhusan.

 

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