Workshop held on its management

The State is bearing the burden of 93.86 million tons of fly ash, which has been lying unutilised over past 12 years.

Accumulation of fly ash, considered to be a major pollutant, is added up by 10 million ton per annum during past five years. The unutilised ash is stacked in ash ponds of various thermal power producing industries.

Scenario would have looked bleaker, had back filling of mine void not been started from 2007-08. In 2011-12, mine void filling constituted 31.19 per cent of total fly ash disposal. Experts, who participated in a workshop ‘Fly Ash Management in Odisha’ warned that if back-filling of void was not stepped up, accumulation of fly ash would grow further.

Utilisation in other sectors such as brick making, consumption in cement and asbestos manufacturing and utilisation in making highways has not picked up. Only 3.25 per cent of total 12.77 million tons of fly ash was utilised in brick making in 2011-12.

Similarly, cement industry consumed less than four per cent of the fly ash.

Addressing the seminar, J. K. Mohapatra, Chairman of Odisha Pollution Control Board, said 20 to 25 per cent of villages were yet to be electrified and the source of electricity would be from thermal power plant.

“If we don’t start utilising the fly ash, it would impose a cost on our future generation. Time-bound fly ash utilisation must be adhered to,” Mr. Mohapatra said. The OSPCB was looking at road development and embankment strengthening of major canal system as possible areas of fly ash utilisation.