news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | February 23, 2015 | 09:12 am IST 

The performance of the Indian coal-based thermal power plants sector is way below global benchmarks, states a recently released report by the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE). These thermal power plants are also amongst the 'most inefficient' ones in the world. 

The reports states that this is the first-of-its-kind rating of this industrial sector for its environmental performance and compliance.

47 plants across 16 states were selected for the two-year long research study conducted under CSE's Green Rating Project (GRP). The plants were analysed and rated under around 60 parameters and it was found that the overall sector scored poorly throughout- a mere 23 percent compared to 80 per cent that a plant following all best practices can get. 

The study found that the average efficiency of the plants was 32.8 per cent, one of the lowest among major coal-based power producing countries.

Fly ash disposal continues to remain one of the major problems in the industry. The study states that at present 'only about 50-60 per cent of the 170 million odd tonne of fly ash generated by the sector is “utilised”; the remaining is dumped into poorly designed and maintained ash ponds. Currently, about a billion tonne of these toxic ashes lie dumped in these ponds, polluting land, air and water. By 2021-22, the sector will produce 300 million tonne of fly ash every year'.

Almost 40 per cent of the plants analysed under the study did not meet the basic total suspended solid (TSS) norms for effluents discharged by them. Ash slurry, which consists of toxic heavy metals, was found in river and reservoirs of 20 plants. 

The study states that the Delhi- based NTPC’s Badarpur plant is one of the most polluting in the country, whereas CESC-Budge Budge in West Bengal surfaced as one of the top performers. 

These plants were analysed and rated under around 60 parameters including coal and water use and plant efficiency to air and water pollution and ash management. Local community views and impacts on them were also included along with the plants’ compliance record and environment policies. 

Awards have also been given to three top power plants for their overall environmental performance, while two others received awards for their efficient use of resources such as energy and water. 

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