CHENNAI: In a bid to curtail the accumulation of fly ash in power plants, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed the State government to implement the notification issued by the Centre under Environment Protection Act 1986 and submit the compliance report by December 31.
Sources told Express that the notification was issued by the Centre in September 1999 and later amended in August 2003, November, 2009 and January, 2016, to protect the environment, conserve top soil and promote utilisation of ash generated from coal and lignite based plants, which are identified as one of the 17 categories of highly polluting industries.
The notifications include mandatory mixing of ash in brick manufacturing, use of ash-based products in construction, mandatory use of ash in road and flyover projects, mandatory use of ash in low-lying land reclamation projects and in stowing and backfilling of mine voids within specified distances from thermal power plants.
Interestingly, the CPCB directive has asked the state pollution control board (TNPCB) to enlist all brick manufacturing units located within the radius of 100 km from coal- and lignite-based thermal power plants and ensure they are complying by adding 25 pc of fly ash in manufacturing of bricks. “If they fail to comply, action should be taken to shut down the units and cancel permission to operate brick manufacturing units,” CPCB has stated.
S Saravanan, president, Tamil Nadu Fly Ash Bricks and Blocks Manufacturers Association told Express that brick manufacturers are not being given fly ash by power plant officials. He said the provisions of notifications could not be implemented in Tamil Nadu as the state pollution control board is unaware of how much fly ash is generated in the state, how much is disposed of and how much is utilised.
“The biggest failure is the lack of formation of plant level committee, which is mandated under the Environment Protection Act to meet every month. But, such a committee is seldom formed and even if formed, it hardly meets,” he alleged.
“Similarly, the state level committee that is mandated to meet every year under the Act is also not active enough,” he rued. Without knowing how much fly ash is generated, the fly ash could not be regulated and the CPCB should look into it, he said.
‘Want quota system’
S Saravanan, president, Tamil Nadu Fly Ash Bricks and Blocks Manufacturers Association, wanted the quota system to be in place wherein each plant should make fly ash available for brick manufacturers and cement companies.