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NGT to fine thermal plants over fly ash

According to an NGT order published on Monday, the “environmental damages” for not meeting the 100% fly ash disposal criterion will have to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board in a month, failing which these power plants will have to pay interest of 12% per annum.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2018 23:37 IST
Jayashree Nandi
Jayashree Nandi
Hindustan Times
NGT,thermal plants,NGT to fine thermal plants
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed penalties of up to ₹5 crore on thermal power plants that have not fully disposed of the fly ash they generated. (HT Photo)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed penalties of up to ₹5 crore on thermal power plants that have not fully disposed of the fly ash they generated.

According to an NGT order published on Monday, the “environmental damages” for not meeting the 100% fly ash disposal criterion will have to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board in a month, failing which these power plants will have to pay interest of 12% per annum.

This makes it legally binding for all thermal power plants to ensure complete disposal of or utilization of fly ash immediately.

The order is significant because of the high contribution of fly ash to air and water pollution and its impact on crops being grown in villages around these plants.

A union environment ministry notification dated November 3, 2011, states that thermal power plants commissioned before the date of the notification will have to ensure 100% fly ash utilisation in five years.

Those commissioned after the notification have to ensure 100% compliance within four years of the date of commissioning.

An earlier notification dated September 14, 1999, requires manufacturers of clay bricks, tiles or construction activities to mix at least 25% of fly ash so that full disposal can be achieved in nine years. This was amended in 2016 and the date for full utilization of fly ash was extended to December 31, 2017.

“Fly ash is a major source of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) in summer. It becomes air borne, and gets transported to a radius of 10 to 20 kms. It can settle on water and other surfaces. Fly ash contains heavy metals from coal, a large amount of PM 2.5 and black carbon (BC). Proper disposal of fly ash is still not happening in many places,” said an Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur professor who did not wish to be named.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 23:37 IST