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ALERT: India continues to be World's highest SO2 producer for the fifth consecutive year!

By Priti Kumari


NEW DELHI: Retaining its top position in the world in anthropogenic SO2 emission, India witnesses 6% decline in SO2 emission this year, says a report by an environmental NGO 'Greenpeace' and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air(CREA).

India is followed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, South Africa, Turkey, USA, Kazakhstan and Ukraine etc. The report also highlights the major SO2 emission hotspots of the world - Norilsk in Russia, Rabigh of Saudi Arabia and Zagroz in Iran, Kriel in South Africa, Cantarell in Mexico etc. Although, India continues to be at the top of the list with the maximum number of hotspots. It also illuminates on India's SO2 emitter regions - Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Neyveli in Tamil Nadu, Tamnar, Sipat & Korba in Chhattisgarh, Kutch & Surat in Gujarat, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Ramagundam in Telangana, Jharsuguda in Odisha.

Commenting on this, a climate campaigner, Green India, stated, "We are seeing a reduction in SO2 emissions in the top three emitter countries. In India, we are getting a glimpse of how a reduction in coal usage can impact air quality and health. In 2019, renewable energy capacity expanded, coal dependency decreased and we saw a corresponding improvement in air quality. But our air is still far from safe. We must speed up the energy transition away from coal and towards renewables, for our health and economy. While ensuring just transition of energy, with the help of decentralized renewable sources, we need to prioritize access to electricity for the poor".

Sulphur dioxide is a toxic gas blameworthy for the smell of burnt matches, very commonly released with the burning of coal and oil resources. It is very much harmful to the skin and eyes. The inadequacy of the Indian thermal power plants to instal Flue-gas desulfurization(FGD) units is a significant reason for the same.FGD is a set of technologies used to eliminate SO2 from exhaust flue gases of fossil-fuel power plants. Indian power plants also missed the deadline of December 2017 for inducting FGDs, calibrated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change(MoEF & CC) in 2015. However, the deadline has been further extended to 2020, we hope that India soon will mitigate its SO2 emission by shifting towards renewable energy sources and by the installation of plants like FGDs.

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