Sponge iron’s dirty growth

In the years to come, India's expanding steel production will be largely driven by sponge iron. But its manufacturing process, based on coal, is highly polluting. The repercussions are already visible near sponge iron factories which have mushroomed in iron ore- and coal-rich areas. People are protesting loudly, and in some cases even violently, while the pollution control agencies look the other way. A Centre for Science and Environment study reveals how the sector is poorly regulated and underscores the need for an action plan to reduce their environmental impact. Sugandh Juneja reports on the status of the sponge iron industry and its challenges

Sponge iron’s dirty growth

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  • The Story is really Great

    The Story is really Great observation.
    Is the Executives of the SAIL do know their green Rating?
    When SAIL being the cash rich company and having highest social commitment how this can manage with out single green count?

    Why central and state govt donot create the special zones for steel plants and power plants?

    Only SEZ for IT and apparel will give growth to country?

    Steel, Power and Cement are the basic resources for Infrastructure development in India. The country growth is only depends on Infrastructure growth but not IT related growth.

    Please try to publish articles for the growth related stories.

    Best oppertunity for India if we export every nut and shell we make. Because the dollar and rupee value today.

    Every small and medium scale industry to take this oppertunity for export and earn.



    Posted by: Anonymous | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Sir, The effort of CSE is

    The effort of CSE is commendable .
    This raises the bar several notches up as a criteria to evaluate them is now in place .
    So those who make the green wash, even when they are not green even at a basic level , will be compelled to make their ratings better in many ways .Let us hope that the policy makers will realize that green business is definitely good business for the bottom line too .

    I did work for Major Steel Plants,both in public and private sectors since 1979 and visits many plants often these days too in my efforts to make them more green , healthier and socially responsible .After two decades of work it is a very long way to go as far as mere compliance is concerned .

    The Steel industry can do better green management if they wish so .
    The internal drive is to spend the least on Green and do something when it is inevitable .

    So let CSE keep tracking them and it might work well some day.

    Jacob Cherian
    10June 2012

    Posted by: Anonymous | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Thank you Mr. PRK Raju and

    Thank you Mr. PRK Raju and Mr. Jacob Cherian for your comments. Indeed, the country lacks independent and authoritative research on many fronts in environmental field and steel sector is just one among them. The apathy towards environment has actually been escalating, even while the companies unilaterally proclaim to be green. We hope this study would bring some change. We would continue to track the performance of these steel plants and keep the readers posted.

    Posted by: Umashankar S | 3 years ago | Reply
  • The report talks at length

    The report talks at length about the problems associated with the steel industry. Close watchers of the steel industry and other related heavy engg industries are aware that such problems exist. The study is a good information collecting exercise. But it should not suffer the ill fate of being restricted to that only! My question is that is the GRP taking any follow up action against the strong findings??? Is it coming up with innovative solutions for the plants? If it is leaving it to the individual companies to sort out the shortcomings, it is a failed dead end then because such companies will not invest time and money to achieve the best practices (who can blame them because the Govt of India itself refuses to adopt mandatory climate change targets?)! So the GRP itself should design and offer solutions out of these problems-otherwise this exercise, though undoubtedly rigorous, would be just another data collection report which will collect dust once some time has passed. And the local people of India will continue to suffer - despite the UN sponsored studies, despite all the talk of UN missions aimed at enhancing lives of people!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Thanks for your comment.

    Thanks for your comment. Indeed, the green rating team is following up with plants and pushing for action. Few have come forward though. For example, Vizag Steel has initiated action on metallurgical wastewater treatment. Further, GRP book 'Into the Furnace' discusses the technological solutions of the sector in detail. Information is also provided on the localised solutions across Indian plants.

    Posted by: Umashankar S | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Is there any environment act

    Is there any environment act or law in the govt which limits the companies producing more than its rated capacities.
    Even if they are operating in their approved pollution limits.
    In short any industry having approved capacity of 1 Mn units can produce 1.1 or more , than its rated capacity.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Its a wonderful story. We

    Its a wonderful story. We would like you to cover Industry from other industrial segment also, which also pollute a lot and making scarcity of the natural resources like water and clean air.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • It was new information to me

    It was new information to me that CSEÔÇÖs Green Rating Project is IndiaÔÇÖs only comprehensive environmental audit system, which was started in the mid-1990s. The pie graph was helpful in understanding about the rating criteria and weightage.

    Posted by: Anonymous | one year ago | Reply
  • Your findings should be an

    Your findings should be an eye opener for all those who are involved with the steel industry in India.
    I have been with this industry for the past three and a half decades. I understand the implications of the hard facts the CSE is trying to highlight.
    It is also true when you say that the industry authorities are not very serious about the management of the resources and addressing the environmental issues.

    But what is the root cause for such an apparent apathy?In reality, there is no reason why the PSU steel companies do not take up this issue honestly and try to resolve it!

    The problem lies essentially in the way the steel plants manage their talent pool. At some levels in the management hierarchy, you meet with a sudden competency vacuum always.

    In some units it could be in the junior level, in some other it is in the middle level or otherwise in the senior or top level.

    Whatever way, it seriously affects smooth and reliable flow of information and ideas. This also corrupts some best thought of ideas to degrade to the worst imaginable!

    The net result is the poor show that you have highlighted.

    Tackling this problem in the steel plants is not a big issue, technically. It could be done very effectively, provided there exists a streamlined organizational framework with competent people.

    The great majority of steel executives do not even know the systems that provide them their drinking water or the manner in which their domestic sewage is disposed. Forget about the more complex issues!

    Unfortunately, there is little hope for improvement due the cumulative effects of organizational mismanagement that have been slowly and surely making the internal damage for quite some time now.

    A military organization which wittingly or unwittingly deploys its best trained pilots as truck drivers cannot win! Not much intelligence is required to understand this!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 11 months ago | Reply
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