India’s Thermal Power Hub Set To Miss Deadline To Cut Dangerous Emissions

In India’s coal pollution map, Singrauli, a 2,200 sqkm region shared between Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district and Madhya Pradesh, is the darkest spot. The Uttar Pradesh side is just 200 kilometres from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, where rising pollution is a major concern.

India’s thermal power hub, Singrauli, is set to miss the 2018 deadline to cut dangerous emissions from its coal-based power plants. In Singrauli, twice the size of Delhi, more than two-and-a-half lakh tonnes of coal is burnt every day. 10 coal-based power plants here have a generation capacity of over 21,000 MW, the largest for one region.

These plants have made Singrauli the second most critically polluted industrial zone in the country (air pollution wise) after Ghaziabad, also in Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), 0.06 million tonne total particulate matter including the dangerous PM10, 0.8 million tonne of SO2, 0.9 million tonne of NOx and about 8.4 tonne of mercury are emitted from the thermal power plants annually.

In 2015, the government of India said thermal power plants across the country would have to start cutting down on emissions of poisonous oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, and mercury by 2018.

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