the Central Pollution Control Board (cpcb) has recently come up with a draft guideline for
the cement sector to reduce fugitive emissions. Fugitive emissions occur primarily due to poor handling of raw materials and products such as
limestone, coal, additives, clinker and cement. They are often windblown. The draft guideline, although a positive step, is silent on key aspects to
control fugitive dust better.
The draft recommends spraying water to control dust. A Centre for Science and Environment (cse) report had earlier brought out that 48.5 per cent of water requirement of cement plants is met by using groundwater, and most plants are located in water scarce areas. Thus the water spray option will end up taxing the groundwater table.
cpcb has recommended different measures for open and closed storage of coal and clinker. According to the cse report, the best way to manage coal, clinker, limestone and additives include having closed covered storage yards, closed loading and unloading with dust extractor, covered conveyor belt with bagfilter at transfer points. cpcb should have recommended covered storage yard for limestone, coal, and clinker, say experts.
"Captive limestone mine is an integral part of cement plants and a potential source of dust. The draft guideline is silent on this. There is also no mention of control of multiple handling of raw materials and inventory" says an official from National Council for Cement and Building Materials (nccbm).
But officials are optimistic. "The guildelines will help control fugitive dust. The cement manufacture association (cma) has been asked to comment on the guidelines," says P K Gupta, environmental engineer at cpcb. S P Ghosh of cma said a team of representatives from cma, cpcb and the cement sector will monitor the ground situation and report before the guidelines are finalised.
But the nccbm official is sceptical. "Implementation is weak, so even when cpcb comes out with the final guideline it won't make much difference" he says.
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