Topic: Types of Pollution & Pollutants
Syllabus: – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
The Government has mandated coal or lignite-based thermal power plants to make 100% use of fly ash in an eco-friendly manner. Briefly give an account on importance of utilization of fly ash in India. (150 words, 10 marks).
▪ Introduction:- Briefly give idea regarding Fly Ash
▪ Give importance fly ash and fly ash policy
▪ Mention Uses of fly ash
▪ Conclusion:- Conclude by mentioning current relevance Fly ash
- Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power stations. It is a fine grey powder-like residue.
- It is called fly ash because it is transported from the combustion chamber by exhaust gases.
- It collected from the exhaust gases by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters.
- IMPORTANCE OF FLY ASH
- Fly ash causes environmental pollution, creates health hazards, and also requires a large area of land for disposal.
- Due to increasing concern for environmental protection and growing awareness of the ill effects of pollution, disposal of ash generated at thermal power plants has become an urgent and challenging task.
- At present, 63% of the fly ash is being utilized in India.
- The unused fly ash is dumped into poorly designed and maintained ash ponds. Dumping of fly ash discharged from the thermal power plants on the land or into the water bodies leads to contamination of land and groundwater levels.
- As per estimates, about a billion tonnes of this toxic ash lie dumped in these ponds, polluting land, air, and water.
- This is not healthy for the environment and the chain of living organism’s dependent on it.
- HOW CAN FLY ASH BE USED
- The physical and chemical properties of fly ash are such that it can be utilized in numerous ways.
- It can be used for construction purposes, in the cement industry, for making bricks, tiles, and more.
- It can also be used for making roads and embankments. Further, it is being used for backfilling of open cast mines and stowing of underground mines which results in saving of top fertile soil and river sand.
- Studies have also suggested that fly ash can be used as manure in the agriculture sector as it has many micronutrients.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had earlier in 2020, made it mandatory to use fly ash in the construction of roads or flyover embankments within a radius of 300 km of thermal power plants.
- The use of fly ash has considerably increased in the country, from nearly 10% in 1996-97 to 92% in 2020-21.
- The CPCB and the concerned State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or Pollution Control Committee (PCC) will be monitoring and enforcing the compliance of the new rule by the thermal power plants. For this, CPCB has to develop a portal within six months from the date of publication of the notification by the Ministry.
- To facilitate 100% ash utilization by all coal based thermal power plants, a web portal for monitoring of fly ash generation and utilization data of Thermal Power Plants and a mobile based application titled “ASHTRACK” has been launched by the Government that will help to establish a link between fly ash users and power plants executives for obtaining fly ash for its use in various areas.
- In 2019-’20, the power sector consumed 678 million tons of coal and generated 226 million tonnes of ash. Of this, only 187 million tonnes (82%) were put to use in various ways. The remaining waste piled up, damaging the environment.
Over the last two decades, the Indian government has been issuing similar notifications on the disposal and utilization of fly ash. Proper management of fly ash is important for the environment and also for power plants as it occupies a lot of land space.