The Odisha government has decided to focus on curbing discharge of waste from thermal power plants as part of its climate change action plan for next five years.
Fly ash, a residue of coal burning, disposal has emerged as one of the biggest challenges before the Odisha government even as it is vigorously pursuing to make the State as coal-fired power hub of the country. It has huge negative environmental impact.
The government, as part of new action plan, will now initiate compilation of information from the several studies and initiatives that have been done on fly ash and develop an operational plan including capacity building of the department concerned.
The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) sources said more emphasis would be given on implementation of zero liquid discharge from thermal power plants. There could be mandatory water and waste water audit in water intensive thermal power plants and iron and steel plants.
Scientific approach would be adopted for reclamation of coastal low lying with disposal of fly ash of thermal power plants.
Although OSPCB has been making efforts to find different ways of bulk disposal of fly ash, it has not tasted desired success.
During past three decades of thermal power generation, Odisha has failed to dispose mandatory 100 per cent of fly ash. Utilisation of this waste remained around 50 per cent to 60 per cent. In 2014-15, total 36 power plants with an installed capacity of 14,244 mW had generated 24.687 million metric tonnes (MMT) of fly ash. Of this, only 12.94 MMT could be used that constituted only 52.43 per cent of utilisation. Thermal power plants are now sitting on mountains of fly ash which remain unutilised years after year.
As part of its efforts, the State government has been emphasising on use of fly ash in brick-making, making mandatory of usage of ash for laying of roads within 100 km of power plant and filling up of quarries. In fact, the government has instructed all power plants having generation capacity more than 100 mW to bear cost of fly-ash transportation to destinations.
Apart from utilisation of fly ash, the government will find out bench-mark for water use in all sectors, which is one of the action points under climate change plan up to 2019-20. There will be a robust system of environmental monitoring in major mining clusters. The government has already started heat-island study of Talcher and Jharsuguda area. To focus on curbing waste discharge from thermal power plants in the next five years