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‘Air quality better after closure of Sterlite plant’

A view of the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi.

A view of the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi.  

The ambient air quality around the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi has improved since its closure, the State government on Sunday informed the National Green Tribunal committee looking into Vedanta’s plea challenging the plant’s closure.

Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing on behalf of the government, submitted data collected by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, showing decreased levels of sulphur dioxide and other chemicals in the ambient air near the plant.

Switching station

According to the data, on September 22 last year the level of sulphur dioxide (SO2) stood at 20 micrograms per cubic metre, as recorded on top of the FB substation 230 Kva-Sterlite switching station.

This level had come down to less than five micrograms, as recorded at the All India Radio (relay station) at Therku Veerapandiyapuram on October 12 and 13, this year. The nitrogen dioxide level had also come down to less than seven.

“The industry’s contention was that there was no appreciable increase in the ambient air quality. However, based on the above comparison, it clearly shows that the level of SO2 has reduced,” said an inference drawn from data.

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