PATIALA To reduce air pollution in Mandi Gobindgarh, also known as the steel town of Punjab, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has set up a zinc recovery plant in collaboration with a private firm. The plant will recover waste (metal particles) from the smoke (having metal dust) emitted by iron furnace units and recycle it.This will also help check pollution, said PPCB chairman, who inaugurated the plant set up at a cost of ₹2.5 crore by Madhav Alloys Pvt Ltd. Pannu said the plant was a result of consistent efforts of the board to persuade industrial units across the state to adopt waste minimisation techniques by way of recovery of useful products from hazardous waste. Induction furnace units in Mandi Gobindgarh and Ludhiana produce hazardous dust as air emission, which is collected in air pollution control device (APCD). “Every furnace unit has to pay ₹5,000 per tonne to dispose of this waste in underground cemented blocks at a plant in Zirakpur,” said DS Mangat, adviser of the project.The plant, set up near Gobindgarh, has a capacity to handle 10 tonnes of waste dust released by induction furnaces per day from which four tonnes of zinc will be retrieved. The process involves calcinations, precipitation of iron, lead and copper in the form of sludge and electrolysis. Industrialist can reuse the recovered metal or sell it.“It’s a first of its kind unit in India. We have applied for patent. It will turn waste into wealth by reusing hazardous waste,” said Sudhir Madhav, owner of company. He claimed that the unit will reduce hazardous waste by 70%.There are 102 induction furnaces in Mandi Gobindgarh of which 60 are operational. The town also has 245 operational rolling mills. Of the 1 tonne (1,000kg) iron produced, 5kg is hazardous industrial waste.The plant runs on a technology for utilisation of flue gas cleaning residue generated from steel scrap melting induction furnace for zinc extraction. The company has planned to install such plants in other industrial towns of the state. The Central Pollution Control Board has also and asked other state boards to set up such units to check pollution. Pannu said the board was making efforts to develop a technology to recover zinc from effluents of electroplating industries. He said that board is in advanced stage of setting up units for recovering ferrous and ferric chloride from hydrochloric acid based effluent of pickling units manufacturing engineering goods based in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mohali. The board has also started research for recovering zinc from effluent of electroplating industry in Ludhiana.