Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Prelims level: Petcoke
Mains level: Environmental Dumping example; Sources of Pollution; Balancing Environmental Conservation and Developmental Needs
- US oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
- The US is the biggest producer and exporter of petcoke in the world.
- India, last year got almost a fourth of the fuel grade “petcoke” the US ships.
- Last year, 65 percent of India’s petcoke came from the US
Petroleum Coke (Petcoke)
- Petroleum coke, the leftover from refining Canadian tar sands and other heavy crude, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal.
- It also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur – a key reason few American companies use it.
Rationale for use
- Industry officials say petcoke has been an important fuel for decades, and its use recycles a waste product.
- The petcoke burned in countless factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India.
- Environmental Pollution Control Authority: imported petcoke used near the capital has 17 times more sulfur than the limit for coal
- India’s own petcoke, produced domestically, adds to the pollution.
- Health and environmental advocates say the US is exporting an environmental problem.
- It’s impossible to gauge how much pollution is from petcoke versus other sources. But experts say it is contributing to the problem.
- The Supreme Court banned petcoke use by some industries in states surrounding the capital and demanded pollution standards that could further limit use nationwide.