The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) extended the deadline for installing pollution control technologies in the country's thermal power plants (TPPs).
About the notification
The power plants were classified into different categories in April 2021 on the basis of the Amended Environment (Protection Act), 1986.
MoEFCC has set three different timelines for the installation of pollution control technologies for various types of TPPs:
Category 1: Power plants within a 10 km radius of Delhi NCR and million plus cities– deadline has been extended to December 31, 2024.
Category 2: Power plants within a 10 km radius of critically polluted cities, the deadline has been extended to December 31, 2025.
Category 3: All other power plants across the country the new deadline stands at December 31, 2026.
For Power plants that are older than 25 years (retiring units), the new timeline is 2027 and for the non-retiring units, the timeline is 2026.
Furthermore, the notification was released on the sidelines of the dilution of the emission norms for NOx and water.
The water norms for the TPPs installed after January 2017, were relaxed to 3 cubic metres per megawatt-hours in contrast to the earlier limit of 2.5 cubic metres per megawatt-hours. These norms were set in June 2018.
In May 2019, similar norms were set for NOx. The limits for NOx emissions were raised from 300 milligrams per cubic metres to 450 milligrams per cubic metres.
Pollution from thermal power plants
Flue gas desulfurisation (FGD)
The process of eliminating sulphur compounds from the exhaust emissions of fossil-fuelled (coal-fired) power plants is known as flue gas desulfurization (FGD).
This is accomplished by including absorbent materials, which can eliminate up to 95% of the sulphur from the flue gas by scrubbing.
According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), TPPs account for more than 60 per cent of total industrial emissions of particulate matter; 45 percent of SO2; 30 percent of NOx; and more than 80 per cent of mercury, in India.
These are also responsible for 70 percent of the total freshwater withdrawal by all industries.
Other pollutants include carbon monoxide, ozone, non-methane hydrocarbons and lead.