CPCB pulls up 14 coal plants
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 14 thermal power plants for not complying
with a December 31, 2019 deadline to limit sulphur dioxide emissions.
➢ To limit particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emission from thermal plants, India
put in place a phased-approach that directs 440 coal-fired units — responsible for about 166,000
MW of power — to put in place measures to limit pollution by December 2022.
➢ However, 11 plants in a 300 km radius of Delhi were to comply by December 31, 2019 because of
the poor air quality in the city as well as the surrounding Gangetic plain.
➢ Some of them claimed to have set in place the process for acquiring flue-gas desulphurisation
technology whereas others said they were yet to award tenders. Only one of these plants has
actually implemented technology to limit emissions.
Plea in National Green Tribunal (NGT):
➢ Non-compliance by the thermal power plants is an ongoing dispute being contested at the National
➢ There is an ongoing case in the Supreme Court regarding the extensions given to these plants.
➢ The 14 plants have been asked to explain to the CPCB why they have not complied with the norms
and why action should not be taken.
➢ The CPCB has the power to impose steep fines or shut a unit under the provisions of the
Environment Protection Act.
➢ Flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) is a set of technologies used to remove sulphur dioxide (SO2) from
exhaust flue gases of fossil-fuel power plants, and from the emissions of other sulphur oxide
It is a control device that absorbs and reacts using the alkaline reagent to produce a solid
➢ For a typical coal-fired power station, flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) may remove 90 percent or
more of the SO2 in the flue gases.
➢ As per Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) estimates, these norms can help reduce PM
emissions by about 35%, NOx emission by about 70%, and SO2 emissions by more than 85% by
2026-27 against a business-as-usual scenario with no pollution control technologies.