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Absolute utilisation of fly ash from TPPs is imperative

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

Large amounts of fly ash released by thermal power plants (TPPs) are affecting the health of residents in villages of Raichur district in Karnataka. The central government issued guidelines for 100% fly ash utilization but even today, thermal power plants are not fully complying.

Fly ash from power plants is illegally dumped on roadsides, ponds, and other bodies of water. Every day, lakhs of tonnes of fly ash is released from thermal power plants in Karnataka, affecting the lives of the locals. Many of the ponds constructed to store this ash are also completely full.

For many years, even though fly ash has been used in road construction, brick production, and the disposal of closed mines, the large quantities of ash released every day is affecting the health of the people.

The coal found in India contains 40% ash. This ash contains not only particulate matter 2.5, black carbon, arsenic, boron, chromium, and lead, but also silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide, ferric oxide, and calcium oxide from the combustion of coal in thermal power plants. These ash particles travel for many kilometres in the air before settling on water and other surfaces.

It is common to see clouds of ash storms spread over many kilometres in and around near by villages in Raichur. During the monsoon, on the other hand, lakhs of tonnes of ash flow with the water, contaminating fields and polluting water sources.

The deadline for utilising 100% of the ash produced by thermal power plants is being extended year after year. Starting from Way back in 1999 to till date, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issuing guidelines for the full utilisation of coal ash. But these guidelines have not been implemented till date.

People’s health has been adversely affecting due to fly ash,as it directly affects the lungs. Therefore stringent actions has to be taken by the concern so that 100% utilisation of ash takes place in thermal power plants.

Dr. VijayKumar H K (Environmentalist), Raichur, Karnataka

 


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