From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sulphur Pollution
Mains level : Curbing air pollution
India largest emitter of sulfur
- A new report by Greenpeace India shows the country is the largest emitter of sulphur dioxide in the world, with more than 15% of all the anthropogenic sulphur dioxide hotspots.
- This was detected by the NASA OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) satellite.
- Almost all of these emissions in India are because of coal-burning, the report says.
- The Singrauli, Neyveli, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Korba, Kutch, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur and Koradi thermal power plants or clusters are the major emission hotspots in India.
- The vast majority of coal-based power plants in India lack flue-gas desulphurization technology to reduce air pollution.
- In a first step to combat pollution levels, the MoEFCC introduced, for the first time, sulphur dioxide emission limits for coal-fired power plants in December 2015.
- But the deadline for the installation of flue-gas desulphurization (FGD) in power plants has been extended from 2017 to 2022.
- The report also includes NASA data on the largest point sources of sulphur dioxide.
- The largest sulphur dioxide emission hotspots have been found in Russia, South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Serbia.
- Air pollutant emissions from power plants and other industries continue to increase in India, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the report says.
- In Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey, emissions are currently not increasing — however, there is not a lot of progress in tackling them either.
India is the loser
- Of the world’s major emitters, China and the United States have been able to reduce emissions rapidly.
- They have achieved this feat by switching to clean energy sources.
- China, in particular, has achieved success by dramatically improving emission standards and enforcement for sulphur dioxide control.