The Dadri thermal power plant. Photo: NTPC website
New Delhi: The Delhi government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking closure of 10 coal-fired power plants in the city’s neighbourhood. These plants, the government has said, use outdated, polluting technology.
The 10 thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been contributing significantly to air pollution in Delhi-NCR, environment minister Gopal Rai said.
The Delhi government had written to the Central government requesting their cooperation on limiting pollution from these thermal plants, Rai said in a statement, but “no help has been received so far”. “We hope the Supreme Court will take necessary steps and direct closure of these plants on an urgent basis,” he continued.
The 10 power plants are
- Dadri NCTPP (thermal power plant)
- Harduaganj TPS
- GH TPS (Lehra Mohabbat)
- Nabha TPP
- Ropar TPS
- Talwandi Sabo TPP
- Yamunanagar TPS
- Indira Gandhi STPP
- Panipat TPS, and
- Rajiv Gandhi TPS.
A 2018 study by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Automotive Research Association of India says 60% of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi originates from sources outside the city, the Delhi government said.
Various studies have highlighted the effects of the pollutants from such coal-fired power plants on the health of communities. The ill-effects are more pronounced for vulnerable individuals, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons suffering from asthma and lung diseases, the government’s statement continued.
The Delhi government statement also pointed to the changing compliance guidelines for thermal power plants. On April 1, the Union environment ministry had issued a notification with amended rules allowing thermal power plants within 10 km of the National Capital Region (NCR) and in cities with more than 10 lakh population to comply with new emission norms by the end of 2022.
Earlier, the Centre had revised emission norms for particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen for thermal power plants in December 2015, requiring them to install emission control systems by December 2017. “However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) arbitrarily extended the deadline to 2022. Further, according to the new notification, non-compliance by these power plants will not lead to closure of polluting units but they would continue to pollute subject to payment of a mere penalty amount,” the statement reads, according to Indian Express.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had earlier found that thermal power plants account for more than 60% of the total industrial emissions of particulate matter, 45% of SO2, 30% of NOx and more than 80% of mercury in the country. These are also responsible for 70% of the total freshwater withdrawal by all industries.
A recent compliance report by CSE showed that out of the 12 power plants located around Delhi, SO2 control technology was available only in two plants.
According to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, the delay in installation of the SO2 and NOx control facilities are leading to more than 13 deaths and a loss of Rs 19 crore daily in the region around Delhi-NCR at 2018 operational levels, the government said in its statement.
(With PTI inputs)