Iron, steel sector fare poorly on green scale, says study

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New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The iron and steel industry in India is struggling to meet environmental norms and the sector’s overall environmental performance is poor, says a study released Monday.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) rated 21 top steel makers in India and found that the sector was using enormous quantities of resources – much more land, water, energy, raw materials than required – and polluting them and not complying with even the weak environmental norms that exist today.

The companies were rated on over 150 parameters – from technology to process efficiency and from pollution to occupational health and safety and compliance. The rating of steel sector took two years to complete.

Data is collected from many sources, including industry, and verified by plant and site visits.

“The Indian iron and steel sector’s energy consumption is about 50 percent higher than the global best practice. Process water consumption, excluding power generation, townships and other downstream operations is over three times the global best practice,” the study found.

According to CSE, the large-scale plants were found to be highly wasteful on land. “They have close to 1,200 hectares of land per million tonne of installed capacity; a well-designed plant does not need more than 200 hectares,” it found.

“Most steel plants were found to be non-compliant with pollution norms and are getting away doing all this because of our lax regulatory and monitoring capabilities.”

Sunita Narain, director general, CSE said: “The poor environmental performance of this sector is a measure of the failure of the regulatory institutions in the country. Nobody is asking this sector to improve its green bottom-line.”

“Nobody is measuring and monitoring its actual performance. We should not be surprised. The country has worked to decimate its pollution regulatory paraphernalia – the steel sector is a hard reminder of this,” she said.

According to report, the sector will have to halve their energy use, use only that much water which is needed for evaporative losses and thus stop discharging waste water, and recycle and reuse their solid wastes.

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