Scores of thermal power plants not complying with emission norms

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The Minister also blamed Covid-19 induced lockdowns for slower deployment of instrumentation and equipments, which, he said, prompted the revised timeline for implementation of the new emission norms by TPPs on March 31, 2021…reports Asian Lite News.

Out of the 442 Thermal Power Plants (TTPs), 355 units are complying with particulate matter — PM norms, 256 units are complying with NOx norm and 68 units are complying with SO2 emission norms, according to revised standards of 2015, the Rajya Sabha was told on Monday.

Also, on the one hand the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been extending the deadline for the TPPs to comply with the revised standards of 2015, on the other, it admitted that it has not done any assessment of impact on environment and health of people due to continued operation of TPPs without complying to revised standards, as per the information provided by Minister of State in the Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey in reply to a question by Member of Parliament, Manoj Kumar Jha.

The MoEF&CC, vide its notification dated March 31, 2021 (Annexure-I) had extended the time line for compliance of revised standards of 2015 for coal based power plants. “As per information submitted by utilities to Central Electricity authority (CEA) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), out of 442 units, 355 units are complying with PM norms, 256 units are complying with NOx norm and 68 units are complying with SO2 emission norms,” Choubey said.

The Ministry had notified emission norms on December 7, 2015 for parameters viz. Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Mercury (Hg) and revised the norms for Particulate Matter emission for coal/lignite based TPPs, which were to be implemented within two years from the notification i.e. by December 7, 2017.

Subsequently, in December 2017, the timeline was extended on case to case basis from year 2018 to 2022.

The ministry claimed that it took the decision after taking into consideration following factors: i. Technical challenges such as supply and demand assessment done by CEAI ii. The plan with timelines for phasing was prepared and submitted before Supreme Court, considering supply and demand aspectI iii. Market supply condition as limited technology providers are availableI iv. Supreme Court vide order dated July 29, 2020 in W.P. (C) 13029 of 1985 has seized the matter on certain emission norms.

The Minister also blamed Covid-19 induced lockdowns for slower deployment of instrumentation and equipments, which, he said, prompted the revised timeline for implementation of the new emission norms by TPPs on March 31, 2021.

“The Ministry has not done any assessment of impact on environment and health of people due to continued operation of TPPs without complying to revised standards,” Choubey said in reply to a pin-pointed question by Jha that asked whether the Ministry has done an assessment of negative impact on environment and health of people due to continued operation of these TPPs without complying with revised standards?

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