Skip to main content

Satellite data 'identify' Gujarat's Mundra among 6 of India's top air pollution hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh study, which analyzes data between February 2018 and May 2019, obtained from Tropomi, a satellite instrument on board the Dutch Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, has warned that coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters are India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” contributing hugely to air pollution in Sonbhadra-Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher in Odisha, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Mundra in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal.
According to the study, these “hotspots” are in addition to the already identified hotspots, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, adding, the data show that power plants and industrial clusters have clearly turned into “the most polluting regions/hotspots” because of the high concentration of NOx.
Noting that Tropomi measurements have “a spatial resolution of about 7km”, which is “finer than the “7-km native satellite data”, the study says, “The power plant and industrial clusters e.g., Singrauli, Korba, Talcher, Chandrapur, Mundra, Mumbai, Durgapur” are “the most polluting regions/hotspots, along with cities like Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad etc.”
In fact, according to the study, the “contribution” of NOx from “the power plants and industries can be even more in geographies like Singrauli, Korba, Talcher, Chandrapur. Reason is, here the capacity of coal based power plants "is much more higher than Delhi-NCR.”
According to the study, “NOx emissions contribute to three types of toxic air pollution: PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone, each of which is responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year in India”, adding, “It is estimated that air pollution caused 3.4 million deaths worldwide in 2017 and over 1.2 million in India.”
“Out of the total deaths in India ambient particulate matter pollution alone results in 673,129 deaths”, the study states, adding, long-term exposure to tropospheric ozone (O3) – a secondary gaseous pollutant produced by photochemical oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) in the presence of NOx – contributes to “the risk of premature mortality.”
It adds, “The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) in 2016 attributed 233,638 annual premature mortalities to ambient O3 exposure globally, with 39% of the disease burden in India.”
Released by Greenpeace India, part of one the world’s most powerful environmental NGOs, the study says, “Given the seriousness of the spread of NOx pollution, it is essential for the country’s decision-makers to ensure the power sector complies with the emission standards notified for coal based power plants in December 2015.” 
Even as stating that the Government of India decision to “leapfrog” to BS VI emission norms for auto fuels by 2020 would “helpful towards reducing NOx pollution”, the study insists, “It is important to ensure that the power and industry sector also adheres to strict NOx standards.”
The study defines NOx as “dangerous air pollutants, causing respiratory symptoms and lung damage on acute exposure, increasing the risk of chronic diseases in long-term exposure”, adding, “Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a secondary gaseous pollutant produced by photochemical oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) in the presence of nitrogen oxides (NOx).”
The study says, “Population-weighted seasonal ambient O3 concentrations in India have increased by 27% from 62 parts per billion (ppb) in 1990 to 77 ppb in 2016”, adding, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur study of 2015 “confirms” the impact of NOx emission (especially from power plants) on air quality in the following words:
“…power plants contribute nearly 80% of sulfates and 50% nitrates to the receptor (Delhi-NCR) concentration… 90% reduction in NOx from power plants can reduce the nitrates by 45%. This will effectively reduce PM10 and PM2.5 concentration…”
Pointing towards the reason why it had to go in for satellite-based identification of hotspots of NOx pollution, the study says, the availability of reliable data in the public domain, “a key to cleaner skies”, is absent as of today, insisting, “The satellite-based data doesn’t allow the major polluters to hide.” 
The study says, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has recognized “the significant contribution of coal based thermal power plants to the air pollution and NOx/SO2 emissions”, and even came up with “NOx and SO2 emission limits based on the age of the power plants through gazette notification dated December 7, 2015”.
However, information accessed through the Right to Information (RTI) of the discussions between the Ministry of Power, the Central Electricity Authority and MoEFCC suggests that “the power industry is advocating to dilute the stricter emissions standards for NOx to 450mg/m3 from the current value of 100-300mg/m3 sighting non-availability of technology.”
The study wants that “power utilities and the government need to take public health more seriously and do away with attitude of delaying actions to reduce emission s from power sector and industry, they need to have political will to act and it should come now”, adding, “Government should ensure that all the emission sources/sectors of NOx, i.e., transport, industries and power generation are tackled keeping in view the health emergency India faces today.”

Comments

Uma said…
The Mundras, the Adanis, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Mallya--nothing is going to happen to them.
impulse said…
Kindly provide the reference of the study
Editor said…
Hyperlink is given pls see the story
AVK said…
Thats the hard reality. But what other way? You wont let Mithi Virdi and Thutookudi nuclear power plants come up and coal creates pollution. power toh chahiye na
Anonymous said…
Don't know about other companies but NTPC is investing lot of money to reduce emissions level. We r helpless that we cannot completely go for non renewable energy like other developed countries.but our future will be on non renewable energy sources. NTPC is now going very slow on setting up new coal based stations. However we are setting lot of solar plants now.
It is also observed that lot of foreign companies are spreading roumers and seeks business opportunity in Indian power sector on the basis of environment norms.
Xposed said…
👆You are right

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.