Emission standards of thermal power plants shouldn't be diluted: Green bodies
Green bodies on Thursday
demanded that emission standards set for thermal power plants should not be
diluted and said inadequate execution of such norms worsens air pollution
killing 1.2 million people in India every year.
Volunteers and activists of
the green bodies held a silent protest over this issue and submitted a
petition, titled 'Clean Air Nation', signed by over a lakh people, to the
environment ministry, which assured the activists that the norms will not be
Joint secretary in the ministry,
Arun Kumar Mehta, has assured the activists of Greenpeace India, Care4Air and
Help Delhi Breathe, that emission standards of thermal power plants will not be
diluted, Greenpeace India said in a statement.
The ministry had notified the
emission standards for thermal power plants (TPPs) on December 7, 2015 and had
set December 2017 as the deadline for implementing it.
With less than nine months left,
reports have appeared that the government is ready to relax the deadline and
even dilute the emission standards.
"We urged the ministry to ensure
that a monitoring mechanism for implementation of the emission standards is put
in place, so that we do not reach a situation in December where no power plant
has complied to the notification," Sunil Dahiya, campaigner of Greenpeace India,
"The joint secretary said he is
aware of the effect of air pollution on human health and will make sure that
pollution level does not increase," he said.
The impacts of air pollution
are far-reaching and devastating which include rise in economic and health
expenditure. It is a national problem which is killing 1.2 million Indians
every year and costing the economy around 3 per cent of GDP, Greenpeace
"We desperately need to upgrade
thermal power plants to control air pollution. Without these upgrades we will
never have clean air," said Help Delhi Breathe campaign coordinator Reecha
"Along with upgrading the newer
plants, we need to phase out older power plants and use our resources to invest
in clean and green renewable energy for India," Upadhyay said.
According to various studies,
exposure to particulate matters has both short and long-term effects on human
health. There is a marked increase in pollution-related ailments like redness in
eyes, lung cancer and heart attacks.
"In the short term, we must focus
on reducing emissions from existing power plants by implementing the standards.
In the long term, we need to recognise that coal is the biggest contributor to
air pollution. Breaking free from fossil fuels will lead India towards a cleaner
and sustainable future," Ekta Singh of Care4Air said.
Coal has been a major source of
air and water pollution. Reliance on coal has led to loss of forests, wildlife
and has destroyed livelihoods of thousands of people. Research suggests that
growth in use of coal is responsible for around one lakh premature deaths in
India, Greenpeace said