Industry, cars major contributors to air pollution
Cement plants cause maximum green house emissions in the state with more than half of the carbon dioxide being emitted by the industry alone.
Carbon dioxide is a major green house gas (GHG) with methane, nitrous oxide and ozone being the other gases leading to global warming. Usage of energy, industrial processes and vehicular traffic produces carbon dioxide.
A study on greenhouse gas emissions by the Department of Environment has pointed out that cement plants produce 5.311 million tonnes of the carbon dioxide, 4.09 per cent of the national share of green house gases in 2012-2013. The industrial and other commercial activities contributed 2.757 million tonnes of the gas, which comprised 2.73 per cent of the national share of the green house gases.
The transportation sector contributed as much as 0.716 million tonnes which was 0.50 per cent of the nation’s share.
The transportation sector contributed as much as 13 per cent to carbon dioxide emissions due to energy consumption while the industrial and institutional sectors contributed the highest 53.3 per cent carbon dioxide. The residential sector contributed 27 per cent on account of energy usage, thus making the industry the biggest contributor of green house gases.
The state has three major cement plants — Ambuja Cements Limited, Jaypee Associates and ACC. There area a few small units in Nalagarh and Sirmaur districts. Both JPA and ACL had two units each and more than 70 per cent of the total cement was being produced in Solan district alone.
The state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh which accounted for 79 per cent of the state’s industry was thus a major green house gas contributor.
There was, however, little talk of initiating measures to reduce the GHG emissions in the state even as it has become an internationally debated issue.
Although measures such as using energy efficient LEDs in the state has been initiated as per the Central government’s energy efficiency programme, little has been done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the industry contributing the highest 53.3 per cent to the GHGs in the state.
Even issues such as exploring the possibility of making public transportation more eco-friendly did not figure on the state government’s agenda.
Though online monitoring of various pollution-related parameters for the cement plants was introduced by the Central Pollution Control Board, its visible impact was yet to be seen in reducing GHG emissions.
“The axing of thousands of trees for widening roads every year was on the other hand reducing the capacity of the atmosphere to act as natural sink to absorb carbon dioxide let out into the atmosphere,” said environmentalist HK Sharma.