Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
6) Discuss the health and environmental hazards associated with fly-ash. Also discuss the issues which impede its full-scale utilization in India.(250 words)
Why this question
India depends heavily on coal for power generation ( 3/4th of total electricity comes from coal) and the dependence is bound to increase in future. This creates the problem of fly-ash generation and its proper disposal, usage. The issue is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Key demand of the question.
The question has two key demands; one, what are the health and environmental hazards associated with fly-ash and second, what are the technical issues and regulatory issues which impede the proper utilization of the fly-ash.
Discuss- we have to write in detail about the key demands of the question. We have to discuss the health and environmental hazards of fly-ash and technical, regulatory and other issues which impede its full scale utilization.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– Mention the statistics about India’s coal usage, fly-ash generated, cement production etc. You don’t have to remember exact figures but rank,estimated changes etc.
- Mention the environmental and health hazards of fly-ash.
E.g All the heavy metals found in fly ash—nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc—are toxic in nature. They leech into the surrounding soil and can enter food-chains, asthma and respiratory ailments due to direct exposure, destruction of mangroves, drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater etc.
- Discuss the technical and regulatory and other issues involved.
e.g BIS standards allow low level of fly-ash blending in PPC, proper documentation on collection and disposal costs are usually not available, indexing the fly ash price to the price of cement ultimately works by eroding the competitive advantage of PPC etc.
Conclusion- mention that it is most desirable to limit fly ash production through greater deployment of renewable energy sources, using better coal and combustion techniques, etc, since cement-related industries alone will not be able to absorb all the fly ash generated in the future.