ANUGUL (Odisha): The recent fly ash pond and mount breach disasters have concerned each and every citizen of the state. Fly ash from coal fired power plants is toxic and cancerous. It is already impacting lakhs of acres of farm fields; severely polluting our water resources; poisoning our food and creating other menace. There is an urgent need to regulate ‘fly ash generation and pollution’ in the state, said Ranjan Panda, Convenor , Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO).
He said this at a state level consultation “Round Table on Fly Ash Menace in Odisha: Impacts on Water, Health, Environment and Livelihoods” was organised by Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) in association with Citizens Action Forum (CAF), Angul.
Eminent environmentalist Prof. Arttabandhu Mishra said, “at least 22 heavy metals are there in the fly ash, and 18 of them are cancerous that lead to lungs, bone and other cancers in both humans and animals”. “By declaring fly ash as a saleable commodity, the Govt. Of India has cleared the door to spread cancer in all the places where coal fired plants are there”, he added.
Rabindra Prasad Pattnaik, President of CAF, said “none of the power plants are confirming to the pollution control regulations of the country. Each of them is supposed to submit a Plan of Action to thegovernment with regard to fly ash management. However, none do it.”
“The fly ash management issue cannot be looked into in isolation of the power plants and aluminium smelters”, it was felt by the participants. “The land, water and forest resources of the state cannot sustain the amount of coal fired power plants and the government must not go ahead with the envisaged 75000 MW generation”, it was urged.
This plan will mean at least 30 acres of land will take fly ash Samadhi per day in the state if all the fly ash mounts are made of 30 feet height it was calculated . (The calculation for this has been given in footnote) This will take away livelihood of lakhs of farmers and fisher folks. The participants therefore urged upon the government to immediately scrap the blind push for coal fired power plants.
The consultation ended with a charter of demands that the organisers will submit to the Govt. of Odisha and use the same to educate the people of the state. Some key demands in the list include: 1. Urging the government to stop production in all coal fired power plants who are not confirming to fly ash management and other pollution control norms; 2. Asking the government to release a White Paper on the existing power plants, their coal, land, water and other requirements with transparent information on the legality of these resources they are in possession of/and or using for production; 3. Urge the government to immediately work on a power vision for the state and limit power production to meet the need of the state.
The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Bijay Mishra of CAF and Dr. Dilip Kumar Padhi of WIO.
(Sunday, September 16, 2012)