Green belt for suppressing fly ash menace at Khaparkheda

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 May 2018 09:57:23


By Ramesh Marulkar,

A project of over Rs 53 lakh on Green Belt Bamboo Plantation is being launched at Waregaon ash pond near Khaparkheda Thermal Power Station, on Friday at 10 am.
Maharashtra Bamboo Development Board (MBDB) is undertaking the project for a period of five years. It will plant Balcoa species of bamboo in three km strip around the ash pond in the first phase. Later, the plantation may be taken up in the remaining perimeter of the pond, said reliable sources.

The objective of the project is to serve as a screen to the fine ash dust that is responsible for pollution and health hazards not only to human beings but also to domestic/wild animals as well agricultural crops in the nearby areas.

After burning of coal, the remaining ash from the boiler is mixed up with water and transported through pipe line to the dumping site, ash pond. In summer, due to dry weather and winds, the fly ash spreads in the areas affecting the health of citizens residing nearby. To prevent this ash from spreading, the bamboo plantation is being taken up to check pollution and health hazards.

A coal-based power station invariably produces fly ash in large quantities. Due to minimum size of 0.5-300 microns it does not settle down for long period and remains suspended in the air. Fly ash contains various toxins like arsenic, mercury, lead, nickel, cadmium, selenium, venadium, copper etc which when inhaled by human beings they impact stomatal conductance, affect photosynthesis, growth, productivity of crops and create an imbalance in the bio-diversity.

MahaGenco had approached to MBDB with a view to mitigating adverse impact of the ash on human beings, animals, environment and biodiversity and spreading of dust from the ash pond due to wind. After the visits to the site at Waregaon by technical authorities of bamboo board, it was agreed upon that dust suppression from the ash pond site can be achieved creating wind breaks by green belt by bamboo plantation around the ash pond and the slope of bunds.

The project will get a yield of over 360 tonnes of bamboo annually. MBDB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BILT, Ballarpur, to purchase the bamboo grown at the site at the rate of Rs 3,500 per tonne after five years till 50 years.
The bamboo plantation will be self-sustaining initially and profit-bearing in the later stages, sources said.
MBDB will provide training to Khaparkheda staff for upkeeping, maintenance and harvesting of bamboo during the project period.
Koradi Thermal Power Station is executing a small project on plantation in cooperation with NEERI, sources added.