The Minister of Environment and Forests, Shri T.R. Baalu has called for proper utilisation of flyash to protect our environment and stated that it is wrong in our part not to use flyash and discard it as a waste material. Inaugurating the 2nd International Conference on Flyash Disposal and Utilization at New Delhi, Shri Baalu said that government has already issued a Notification on Flyash Utilization last year to promote the use of flyash so that the natural top soil could be protected and the dumping of flyash by thermal plants could be prevented.
According to the Notification, the use of fly ash to the extent of 25 per cent has become mandatory for all brick manufacturers within 50 kilometres radius of ash-generating thermal power plants. Power Stations are required to make ash available free of charge to user agencies like PWD, CPWD, Housing Authorities and private construction firms which are required to specify and use ash and ash-based products, the Minister stated.
Observing that the Indian coal has high ash content, as a result of which almost an acre of land is required for every megawatt capacity of generation, Shri Baalu said that with nearly 60,000 MW installed capacity of coal based power stations in the country at present, an estimated 80 million tonnes of fly ash is generated every year. This requires about 60,000 acres of land for ash disposal. In another 10-12 years, the capacity is likely to be more than double that of present capacity, so that nearly equal amount of additional land will be required. "Highly populated country like ours cannot afford to set aside so much land for ash disposal", the Minister added.
Complementing the scientists for developing technologies for large-scale use of ash, Shri Baalu said that flyash is being used in a number of construction projects and the combined efforts of all concerned have served to improve the percentage of flyash utilisation. Technologies are now available to use fly ash in manufacture of industrial products such as paints, fire resistant bricks, tiles and wood substitutes. Further, its successful use for reclaiming mines and low-lying areas would reduce pressure on river bed sand and digging of fertile soil, Shri Baalu pointed out.