The Delhi government has requested the Centre to shut down 13 coal-based power plants not adhering to 2015 norms of the environment ministry, saying emissions from these facilities are among reasons for the city’s poor air quality. In a letter to Union Power Minister R K Singh, Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain said the coal-based power plants operating in a 300-km radius of the national capital are the “worst offenders” responsible for Delhi’s toxic air.
Jain said a 2016 IIT Kanpur study said emissions from these 13 thermal power plants, with a capacity of over 11,000 MW, contribute to the formation of secondary particles like sulphates and nitrates which are products of reaction between aerosols with gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
“Ministry of Power, GOI, had committed to the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the thermal power plants will meet the pollution control norms by December 2019. Despite the directions of the Govt of India, the 13 coal-based thermal power plants affecting NCR have not yet adopted anti-pollution technology,” Jain wrote. Jain was referring to the Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015, notified on December 7, 2015, which revised emission limits for thermal power stations.
“The Central government intends to renew these power stations and allow them two more years to function despite informing the Supreme Court in 2015 that by 2019 they will lower the pollution level… Dadri power station which causes immense pollution in the city despite crossing its threshold of completing 25 years is being planned to be renewed by the Central government,” Jain said.
The minister added that since Delhi has alternative sources to generate power, these thermal plants can be closed as it will not lead to reduction of power supply.
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