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India largest emitter of SO2 in world

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


India largest emitter of SO2 in world


Context: India is the largest emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide in the world, as per the data released by environmental NGO Greenpeace on August 19, 2019.

Anthropogenic sulphur dioxide is produced from burning of coal and it is known to largely contribute to air pollution.


Key findings:

  1. SO2 hotspots across the world have been mapped.
  2. The SO2 hotspots were detected by the OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) satellite.
  3. India has over 15 percent of all anthropogenic sulphur dioxide (SO2) hotspots in the world.
  4. The main SO2 hotspots in India include Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher and Jharsuguda in Odisha, Neyveli and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Kutch in Gujarat, Ramagundam in Telangana and Chandrapur and Koradi in Maharashtra. 
  5. Norilsk smelter complex in Russia is the largest SO2 emission hotspot in the world, followed by Kriel in Mpumalanga province in South Africa and Zagroz in Iran. 


How to control the SO2 emission?

  1. SO2 emission is a significant contributor to air pollution and the largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is burning of fossil fuels in power plants and other industrial facilities.
  2. The primary reason for India’s high emission output is the expansion of coal-based electricity generation over the past decade.
  3. India should take stricter action against coal power plants and should not give them a free to hand to continue polluting the atmosphere and cause a public health emergency.

Efforts in this regard:

  • The Environment Ministry had introduced SO2 emission limits for coal power plants in December 2015 and set the initial deadline to control SO2 emissions from power generation by December 2017.
  • The deadline was later extended till December 2019 after a request from the Ministry of Power and power plant operators in Delhi-NCR and till 2022 for some other power plants across the country through a Supreme Court order.


Sources: Indian Express.