Pollution whip on sponge units: The Telegraph

September 22, 2011 at 6:41 am Leave a comment

Following report is from http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110922/jsp/orissa/story_14535693.jsp:

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 21: The Orissa State Pollution Control Board has asked 26 of the total 109 sponge units in the state to cut down production to reduce pollution levels in the sponge iron plants.

Sources said the units had been asked to scale down production for failing to stick to the bag filter size prescribed by the pollution control board on the recommendations of IIT, Kharagpur.

Bag filters are meant to filter the ash generated by burning of coal in these units to keep the environment clean.

The Orissa government is keen on reducing the pollution levels in sponge iron plants, which are considered among the most polluting industries in the world.

The units are located in Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Cuttack and Mayubrhanj districts.

This is not the first time the pollution control board has cracked its whip on the erring sponge units. In June, it had served showcause notices to 68 of these units. Six had also been shut down.

Member-secretary of the board Siddhant Das said the IIT, Kharagpur was commissioned to make a study on the pollution control requirements in the sponge iron plants in 2009 when the number of units in the state was 104. The organisation had recommended filter bag capacity for each unit, but some of them complied.

Since ash generation in these units had gone up owing to use of the poor quality coal, air quality in and around these plants was bound to be affected significantly unless the plants used filters of the required size as prescribed by the expert body.

Bulk of coal produced in Orissa was of F and G grade, which has high ash content. Sources said the ash generation was almost to the tune of 50 per cent, when this coal was used in the plants.

In June, showcause notices were issued to 68 sponge iron units for failing to meet the pollution control norms. “Forty two of these have since complied with the norms and enhanced the capacity of their bag filters,” said Das, adding that the board was keen to ensure that the remaining 26 also fell in line.

Orissa is one of the largest producers of sponge iron in the country with plants operating in six big clusters. As a consequence, it also bears the brunt of environmental pollution caused by this industry.

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Entry filed under: Industries and Environmental Issues, Industries and mineral resources, Jharsuguda, Region watch, Sambalpur, Sundergarh.

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