Quality of air in the Jharsuguda and Sambalpur area is highly polluted: National Environmental Engineering Research Institution
BHUBANESWAR: The National Environmental Engineering Research Institution (NEERI), which undertook the ‘carrying capacity’ survey in Odisha’a new industrial hub of Jharsuguda and Sambalpur, has given thumbs down to the quality of air in the area.
The survey report submitted to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) was aimed at examining if further industrialization is possible in those areas. The draft report is being examined by SPCB environment scientists.
“We have received the report and are examining the recommendations of NEERI. Another round of discussion will be held at Nagpur in November as to which components of the recommendations are necessary to take a decision regarding a cap on further industrialization in those areas,” said senior environment scientist of SPCB Dilip Kumar Behera. NEERI reports revealed that emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and fluoride are causing environmental hazards in the area, he said. “NEERI study reveals particulate matter — 10 and 2.5 — is responsible for air pollution. Mainly thermal plants, refractories, sponge iron units and coal mines are having an adverse effect on the environment,” said Behera. He, however, said NEERI didn’t give any industry specific recommendations.
The SPCB had entrusted NEERI to conduct the study in a 45 km radius area with Rengali in Sambalpur district as the epicenter. Earlier, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, had conducted a similar survey, based on which some industries, in the first phase, were given closure notice.
The basic purpose of the survey was to ascertain how much area in the districts can take the pollution load. “It was a typical scientific study based on which newer technology can be put in place to check pollution and expansion plans of existing industries and accommodation of new industries can be decided accordingly,” said NEERI director S R Wate.
There are around 23 sponge iron units in Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region. “After we felt that mostly sponge iron industries were responsible for dust and ash generation, we approached NEERI to conduct the study,” said SPCB environment engineer A K Swar. Odisha is the only state which has 110 sponge iron units, which emit 45% ash, he said.
He said earlier SPCB had recommended ‘no standalone’ sponge industry in the state. “If one applies for only sponge iron industry, he won’t be given the permit. A sponge iron industry henceforth can not be set up alone. There must be some ancillary unit attached to it,” said Swar. He said pneumatic dust handling has been made compulsory for the industries.