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Pollution fear in industry age

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 18: Members in the Odisha Assembly today expressed concern over the growing air pollution caused by emission of gases from industrial units

“Odisha is on the path of rapid industrialisation. If pollution control measures are not strictly enforced, the pollution load will go up manifold in the near future,” said senior BJD member and former agriculture minister Amar Prasad Satpathy.

Sharing the concern of the House, the state forest and environment minister, Bijoyshree Routray, said industrialisation would obviously add to the pollution level. “However, steps are being taken to restrict the pollution load,” he said, while responding to the queries of BJP member Karendra Majhi and others.

Plantation programmes are being taken up in industrial belts, he said. “However, the Centre is not releasing funds worth Rs 3,600 crore under the compensatory afforestation scheme,” he alleged.

The minister said sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide were emitted from mineral-based industries. Besides, fluoride was released from aluminium and phospate plants. The State Pollution Control Board regularly monitors the air quality in the state’s major cities, industrial belts and critically polluted areas. These tests have revealed that suspended particulate matter and respirabe particulate matter are major contributors to air pollution.

“However, emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide has remained much below the permissible limit. But the State Pollution Control Board and the government have taken precautionary measures keeping in view the industrialisation,” he said.

Upcoming thermal power units have been asked to install flue gas desuphurisation plants and low nox burners for regulating emission of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, said Routray.

Similarly, the aluminium industries have been directed to install dry scrubbing systems in smelters and fume treatment plants in bake oven plants to restrict the release of fluoride into the atmosphere. They have been also asked adopt pre-bake centre work technology, he said.

Phosphate fertiliser plants have been asked to produce sulphuric acid through double conversion double absorption method. Besides, these plants have been instructed to install mist eliminators and alkali scrubbers to prevent emission of sulphur dioxide.

Steel plants have been directed to recycle carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emitted from blast furnaces and coke ovens to produce electricity and use as alternative fuel. Instructions have also been issued to sponge iron plants to generate electricity from carbon monoxide by using heat recovery boilers, said the minister.

Independent member Brajakishore Pradhan said emission of poisonous gases and discharge of effluents from the aluminium and thermal plants was taking a toll on the cattle population.

Routray promised to direct the State Pollution Control Board to look into the matter.