The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the step taken by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to tighten the pollution norms for coal-based power plants in the country.
CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said: “We welcome this move. It will have an impact on the pollution caused by the thermal power sector in India.”
On Monday, the MoEF&CC had published a draft notification to tighten norms for emissions of particulate matter (PM), SO2, NOx and mercury and cut water use by coal-based thermal power plants.
India currently has no standards for SO2, NOx and mercury emissions from this sector.
Earlier this year, CSE had released its environmental rating of the coal-based thermal power sector, under its Green Rating Project.
Forty seven plants — adding up to 55 per cent of the nation’s capacity — were rated: the sector ranked poorly on all the parametres.
Of the total pollution from the sector, the coal-based power sector currently accounts for approximately 60 per cent of particulate emissions, 45-50 per cent of SO2 emissions, 30 per cent of NOx emissions and more than 80 per cent of mercury emissions.
There are currently no standards to curb emissions of SO2, NOx and mercury. The ministry’s proposed changes, if implemented, may go a long way in safeguarding public health and environment, say CSE experts.
India currently has no standards for SO2, NOx and mercury emissions
Proposed standards for new plants (after 2017) will cut down emissions of particulate matter by 25%, sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 90%, nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 70% and mercury by 75% compared with the state-of-the-art plants
Existing plants will need to meet tighter standards
CSE’s Green Rating Project recently released a report on the thermal power sector, finding most plants to be performing way below global standards