According to the latest report of Greenpeace, India had bagged the title of another first. The first place I am talking about is; India ranked 1st in the Greenpeace list of SO2 emission. India has grabbed the first position in the race of discharging Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) via anthropogenic activities.
Yeah! Not a proud moment for us. Those who do not know what Anthropogenic entails; in simple words, it means caused by Humans or human activities. As a result, we have landed ourselves in a mess created solely by us and hence also reaping the benefits in the form of Air pollution and diseases. (Not the kinds of benefits one usually enjoys)
What is Greenpeace?
Greenpeace is a non-government organization that deals with environmental issues happening worldwide. It deals with myriad of problems regarding changing climate, falling trees, dirtying oceans, declining habitats and their inhabitants (flora & fauna), hazardous impacts of nuclear power to name some. It organizes numerous campaigns to support their cause and try their hardest to gather people all around the world for their help in saving mother Earth.
“Air pollution and the climate emergency share the same solution. Governments across the world owe it to citizens to stop investing in fossil fuels and shift to safer, more sustainable sources of energy.” – Sunil Dahiya, Campaign Specialist, at Greenpeace East Asia
Sources of SO2 (Anthropogenic)
- At small scale, at home: from smoking (cigar, tobacco, cigarette etc), faulty appliances like a stove, cloth dryer etc; kerosene oil/coal-based lamps, stoves etc
- At large scale: from chimneys, automobiles
- At larger/largest scale: from cement industries, petrol refineries; metal/ore smelting (aluminium, zinc, iron etc that have sulfur) and processing factories, industries that use coal to generate electricity(primary reason stated by Greenpeace) etc
Hotspots found in India
India has around 15% of the total sources (global) that are found to be the cause of skyrocketing increase in SO2 emission. The major places that were enlisted by Greenpeace are – Singrauli, Koradi, Neyveli, Chandrapur, Jharsuguda, Talcher, Korba, Chennai, Ramagundam and Kutch. Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, India was on 5th position on the ranking of top sources of SO2 emission, worldwide.
To check, the air quality NASA has been using OMI satellite since 2004. This technology compares the upwind and downwind SO2 level to pinpoint the location of the sources; which are not even enlisted under emission inventories. It is of great help to know about the sources for a clear understanding of the cause and mitigations.
The reason behind this huge quantity
Greenpeace stated that the reason because of which India got 1st position in SO2 emission is lack of FGD in the existing fossil fuel power plants. This technology helps in the removal of harmful sulfur; from the remains of the exhaust flue gases emitted by these power plants.
Some other technologies
There also other technologies that are available in the market that removes harmful SO2 from the waste products before disposal. For example wet scrubbing, spray-dry, SNOX flue gas desulfurization etc.
SO2 is a very harmful gas with lots of adverse health effects. It causes loss of agriculture, architecture, water bodies and humans in huge quantities all over the world. Therefore it is necessary to take adequate steps to check it’s emission.
Report of Greenpeace (India ranked 1st in Greenpeace list of SO2 emission): https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/23819/global-so2-air-pollution-hotspots-ranked-by-greenpeace-analysis/