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

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.