HYDERABAD: Most government thermal power plants in Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh have been continuously violating basic environmental standards and polluting natural resources including air, ground and surface water. Repeated notices from the State Pollution Control Board, for time-bound action to arrest the pollution, have gone unheeded.
Major pollutants from thermal plants are fly-ash and the waste water that is used for cooling the thermal machinery. Fly-ash causes air, water pollution while discharge of waste water into rivers, sea or ponds, kill aquatic beings.
One example is the highly polluting Kothagudem Thermal Power Station. At present, the station has 11 units operating with a total installed capacity of 1,720 MW. Eight of the units are 36 to 48 years old, and are highly inefficient and add to pollution.
“The KTPS plant has not been maintaining the stack standards (it needs to install or maintain electrostatic-predicated bag filters to control fly ash) and the Kinnerasani river is being polluted by fly ash. After issuing several notices and directions for time-bound action, we have forfeited the Rs 5 lakh bank guarantee and have asked for another bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh,” said P. Viswanath, joint chief environmental engineer.
“The level of suspended particulate matter emission should not exceed 150 milligram per normal cubic metre (mg/Nm3). However, our random inspections of KTPS units have revealed that suspended particulate matter level at times has gone up to 1,000 mg/Nm3,” said, an environmental engineer of TS PCB. PCB issued over 10 show-cause notices to KTPS between 2007 and 2014 for violating provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981. It has also issued specific directions to the company to take time-bound actions to comply with the regulations.
Similar is the case of Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station in Ibrahimpatnam in Krishna district and Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant in Kadapa district. “During our regular monitoring of these plants, we found the regular fly-ash standards have been exceeding the standard limits of 150 milligram per normal cubic metre. The authorities of these plants have been insensitive to the notices served. Now we are looking to file court cases and also forfeit bank guarantee,” said, a task force official of AP pollution Control Board (AP PCB)
The real time monitoring systems made mandatory by the Central Pollution Control Board to all polluting industries are still in violation by TS and AP Gencos.
Acidic atmosphere turns farm lands non fertile:
A study shows that due to the acidic atmosphere caused by thermal plants, farm lands lose fertility and there is a reduction in farm yield.
Environmentalists estimate that agricultural yield would drop by about 30 per cent because of pollution and destruction of farm lands in the rice bowl state of India.
Sagar Dhara, environmental engineer and consultant for United Nations Environment Programme, referring to a 2013 environmental impact appraisal of the 1,760 MW Ibrahimpatnam thermal power plant located near Vijayawada, said the report estimated that the air pollution-related crop yield losses in a 10-km radius around the power plant amounted to RS 200 crore per annum.
“Vehicular emission and thermal power plants give out acid gases Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter, which, in the presence of normal sunlight, turn lead to formation of ozone (O3). This in turn forms oxygen radicals that damage the crops and are even known to damage the reproductive system of the cattle. It would affect about 15-40 per cent of the farm yield,” added Mr Dhara,...