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CREA: New Approach Coal-Fired Power Plants Pollution Increasing, State’s Thermal Power Plants Can Reduce Pollution By Keeping Production Running: Coal ash is gurgling out of the chimney. Window panes are covered with fly ash from thermal power plants (coal-fired power plants). A layer of burnt ash was across the roof of the house. Residents of adjacent areas are suffering from respiratory problems and asthma. The same is the case with residents of towns or villages in the vicinity of Kolaghat, Bakreshwar or any thermal power plant. Air pollution is fatal due to power plant pollution. Thermal power plants do not have the infrastructure to take scientific measures to prevent pollution in most places. The problem is here. Now to reduce the pollution of thermal power plants, Naya Panther Hadish Dil Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

The central government issued guidelines to prevent pollution from coal-based thermal power plants. The central government has called for measures to control sulfur dioxide (SO2), NOx, and mercury (Hg) from coal-fired power plants. In 2015 some measures were taken in this regard. According to government guidelines, special infrastructure will be arranged in thermal power plants (coal-fired power plants) to prevent sulfur and nitrogen gas pollution. It was also ordered to implement the system by 2017. The same was said by the National Environment Court. But later it was found that not all thermal power plants could implement this system within that period.

As the state government is dependent on coal-based thermal power plants for power generation, the impact of pollution from coal-based thermal power plants on the health of people in West Bengal is increasing day by day. FGD (Flue gas desulphurization) technology was recommended for pollution control which was not yet possible. According to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, pollution from coal-based thermal power plants is not only limited to the area near the respective power plant, it can spread in the air and go far. And this effect can cause serious damage to the body of children and the elderly. Reducing sulfur dioxide emissions will significantly reduce total air pollution

The total coal-based power generation capacity is 13686 MW, but no such large unit FGD connected to the grid has been installed so far. Units with 7480 MW capacity have so far been awarded tenders for installing FGDs. At the same time, the 510 MW unit is planned to be shut down in the next few years, so no new measures will be taken to control SO2 in those units. As a result, no initiative has been taken so far to reduce SO2 in the remaining 40 percent i.e. 5695 MW units.

Researcher Sunil Dahiya of the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) claims, “All sectors of the state, namely the state, the center, and private enterprises, are paying less attention to the pollution that is generated while producing electricity in West Bengal. The use of coal in grid-connected power generation is increasing, which means that related pollution in the air is increasing. Coal consumption in West Bengal for grid-connected power generation was 44 MT in 2015, which has increased to 54 MT in 2021.”

According to a study, it is possible to reduce the pollution produced by thermal power plants by up to 86 percent. The report shows that the emissions from the currently operational units range from 800 to 1100mg/Nm3. Based on this, it is possible to reduce pollution by up to 86 percent if the size of the unit and other factors are taken care of. But that effort is still not being done in this state.


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