Rating Parameter

  • 14/09/2002

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Raw material sourcing phase
To rate the companies on the raw material sourcing phase, grp used the following indicators: the quality of input salt, transportation of salt, self-sourcing of water (water harvesting) and the use of renewable and clean fuels.

The Indian caustic-chlorine industry has performed poorly in this parameter, not because the sector is very polluting but because it could have been far cleaner than what it is today. Compared to industries like pulp and paper and automobile (earlier rated by grp) the impact of caustic-chlorine industry is insignificant. Still, there is vast scope for improvement. For instance, Indian companies can meet their water needs by undertaking water harvesting within the plant. But only three of the 22 companies do so. Others still rely on groundwater, though many of them are located in water-scarce areas. Similarly, despite the potential of meeting about 30 per cent of the energy requirement from hydrogen (which is produced as a by-product and is one of the cleanest fuels), none of the Indian companies use it as a fuel. In fact, companies prefer to vent hydrogen (about one-third of the total hydrogen produced is vented).

The quality of salt sourced is also very poor. This leads to high pollution at the production plant, including substantial increase in toxic mercury pollution. Though the possibilities to use better quality salt exist, companies are only happy to buy cheap and impure salt from the unorganised sector. This in turn increases toxic pollutants inside the production plant. Worse still, the sector transports this salt from as far as 500 km (average transportation of the sector) releasing as much as 90 kg carbon dioxide to produce one tonne of caustic soda.

Companies discount salt conservation, as the cost of the salt is very low. Though this has little economic implication, it has high environmental cost as salt released from the plant

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