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Activists warn of pollution from JSW project in Odisha

Activists warn of pollution from JSW project in Odisha

The environmental impact assessment (EIA), prepared for the project, was criticized by activists as fraudulent at a time when Dhinkia residents are the focal point of resistance to the mega steel plant located near Paradip.

On Thursday, Odisha and Sanyukt Kisan Morcha members urged the Environmental Appraisal Committee to not appraise JSW Utkal Steel Limited’s proposed integrated steel plant near Paradip.

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They appealed to them for detailed studies to determine the pollution load and carrying capacity of the area around Paradip Port, Dhinkia village.

JSW Utkal Steel Limited refuted the allegations, saying that all efforts have been made to minimize pollution and that the project will follow the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Prafulla Samantara (recipient of the Goldman Environmental Award) addressed a press conference here on Wednesday. He stated that he had written to the EAC to explain the findings of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in New Delhi about potential health hazards and pollution caused by the project.

The EIA report deliberately failed to recognize the environmental effects of additional pollution loads on the area. Mr. Samantara noted that the EIA consultant was bound by duty to justify the project and not scientifically assess the environmental impacts.

Total emission load

The total emission load from Paradip’s 15 Red category industries was 12,700 kg/day (PM) and 43,600 kilograms/day (SO2). According to the letter addressed directly to EAC members, the proposed ISP would emit a total of 25,800 kg/day for PM and 31,000.00 kg/Day for so2. This would make the project a highly polluting resource within the same district.

In his letter, Mr. Samantara cited the CREA study and stated that air pollution would cause an estimated 94 deaths each year. Air pollution would also result in 180 emergency room visits for asthma, 160 preterm babies and 75,000 work absences per year.

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Greenhouse gas emissions

Dhinkia villager and other human habitations will bear the brunt from dangerous cumulative greenhouse gas emissions, along with scarcity drinking water, stated Suresh Panigrahi of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha in Odisha. They demanded that the Paradip port project be canceled.

Paradip’s coast-based steel plant offers many advantages, including seamless sea transportation of large volumes of raw materials and finished goods. The iron ore used in the steel plant’s production is transported in slurry from the mines head over nearly 300km. These measures will ensure that 10% of material transport by road is avoided, which is a major source and contributor to air pollution.

She stated that the EIA for the project was prepared according to the MoEFCC guidelines for environment appraisal. CREA’s opinion that EIA should only be prepared using one-year data was not consistent with the guidelines of the MoEFCC for EIA reporting.

The JSW Group proposes to build a 13.2 Mtpa steel plant on land previously acquired for POSCO. The project also includes a captive power plant of 900 MW and a 10 MPTA cement mixing and grinding unit.

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