Skip to main content

India 'houses' 13 of world's top 40 coal-fired anthropogenic SO2 emission hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of top international environmental NGO Greenpeace reportedly identified six coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters as India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” on the basis of data from Tropomi, a Dutch satellite instrument, the NGO has now found, on the basis of data obtained from NASA, that India houses 13 of the world’s top 40 anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitting hotspots, resulting from coal combustion.
If the Dutch satellite-based data had identified 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 as India’s NOx hotspots, the new Greenpeace study says, thanks to coal burning, India is the largest emitter of SO2 in the world, contributing more than 15% of global anthropogenic SO2 emissions from NASA detected hotspots.”
Causing environmental pollution and pollutants originating from human activity, anthropogenic SO2 is mainly produced from coal combustion, as also from oil and gas refining/ power generation and smelters. It is known to be impacting human health, ecosystems, agriculture, and global and regional climate.
India’s top 13 coal-fired anthropogenic SO2 hotspots identified out of the world’s 40 are Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), producing 507 kilotons per year (kt/yr), followed by Neyveli (Tamil Nadu) 393 kt/yr, Talcher (Odisha) 347 kt/yr, Jharsuguda (Odisha) 301 kt/yr, Korba (Chhatisgarh) 280 kt/yr, Kutch (Gujarat) 228 kt/yr, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) 215 kt/yr, Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) 171 kt/yr, Ramagundam (Telangana) 157 kt/yr, Raigarh (Maharashtra) 154 kt/yr, Mundra (Gujarat) 148 kt/yr, Chandrapur (Maharashtra) 132 kt/yr, and Koradi (Maharashtra) 114 kt/yr.

Titled “Global SO2 emission hotspot database: Ranking the world’s worst sources of SO2 pollution” by NGO researchers Sunil Dahiya and Lauri Myllyvirta, the study states, “More than 51% of total anthropogenic SO2 emissions are emitted in regions of high coal consumption for power generation and industries. Coal combustion for power generation is the major emission source, with smaller contributions from oil refineries/consumption, smelters and others.” 
Shockingly, the study says, India is one of the three countries – the other two being Saudi Arabia and Iran – whose “air pollutant emissions from power plants and other industries continue to increase”. Then, there are Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey, whose emissions are “currently not increasing but there is not a lot of progress in tackling them either.” 
Commenting on India, the study states, “The primary reason for India’s high emission output is the expansion of coal-based electricity generation over the past decade. The vast majority of plants in India lack flue-gas desulfurization technology to reduce their air pollution.” 
The study continues, “Singrauli, Neyveli, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Korba, Kutch, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur and Koradi thermal power plants or clusters are the major emission hotspots in the country”, adding, “In India, there has been an increase of SO2 emissions at already existing hotspots as well as the emergence of new sites generating emissions across the country.” 
Trends in anthropogenic SO2 emissions by country since 2005
Criticizing the Government of India’s failure to control SO2 emission, the study underlines, “In a first step to combat the pollution levels, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change introduced, for the first time, SO2 emission limits for coal-fired power plants in December 2015, but the deadline for the installation of flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) in power plants has been shifted from 2017 to 2022.”
In all, the study says, NASA satellite data captured more than 500 major point sources of SO2 emissions across the globe, including natural sources such as volcanoes. “Excluding all natural sources from our analysis and only investigating anthropogenic sources of SO2, we found a close correlation of high SO2 emission levels within regions that have high fossil fuel consumption i.e., geographies with high coal burning, oil refining and combustion as well as smelters.”
“Sixty percent of the total emissions detected by the satellite are anthropogenic. Regions with high capacity of coal combustion for power generation and industries, smelters, oil and gas refining/combustion contributed 31%, 10% and 19% respectively”, it adds.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using geenwashing' to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.