An Ashen Legacy
Coal based thermal power stations are responsible for one of the largest industrial waste streams in India—coal ash. As fugitive emissions in the dry form and as leakage of ash slurry from ash ponds, coal ash is a major environmental and health concern today. It has been under the regulatory scanner for more than two decades. However, attempts to ensure its 100 per cent utilization are yet to bear fruit. Therefore, along with the current emphasis on meeting emissions standards, ash utilization also must be made a priority issue. This report highlights the issue of poor ash management by power plants and provides insights into the urgent interventions needed—interms of policy measures, monitoring framework and practices—to tackle the problem of overabundance of ash, and to clear the huge stockpile of legacy ash.