MPPSC Prelims Exam(Q&A) – How thermal power plant is detrimental to the environment?

MPPSC Prelims & Mains Notes, MPPSC Test Series

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Environment and General Science

How thermal power plant is detrimental to the environment?

Thermal Power Plants are the major source of generation of electricity for any developing country. Around 60% of electricity generation in India is met by thermal power plants. Fuel is blown into the combustible chamber of the boiler where it is burnt at high temperature where heat energy converts water into steam.

High-energy steam is passed through the turbine and the steam creates a force on the turbine causing the shaft to rotate at high speed. A generator is coupled at one end of the turbine shaft which generates power. The thermal power plant has serious impacts on land, soil, air, and various social impacts the thermal power plant is also said to emit a large amount of mercury and generate a large quantity of fly ash which destroys the surrounding environment.

These plants also consume a large amount of water. Due to these problems, they require a proper Environmental impact assessment before the commencement of the project which is not done judiciously in our country. Various mitigation measures for the control of pollution caused by thermal power plants along with some new technologies.

Air pollution: Particulate matter, gaseous emission- sulfur dioxide, oxide of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, a hydrocarbon. Transportation of coal, loading/unloading of fuel, coal storage yard, fly ash handling & transportation, coal storage yard

Thermal Power plants are large emitters of  Mercury.

The typical power plant emits 90 % of its mercury into the air and 10 percent on land. On an average 65 tonnes of mercury released in the atmosphere by the Indian thermal power plant.

  1. Water pollution: Cooling tower blowdown, boiler blowdown, demineralization plant effluent, coal handling plant dust suppression, ash handling, leachate of heavy metal ash pond contaminate groundwater, effluent from oil handling and transformer areas, powerhouse and turbine area effluent, domestic wastewater.
  2. Land Degradation: Untreated air and water pollutants from the coal power plant affect the flora & fauna of the adjoining area which makes them unfit for living or livelihood.
  3. Noise Pollution: A high-level noise is emanated from the power plants by the use of equipment like boilers, turbines and crushers and regular exposure to this would affect the people or the employees who are in contact with this sound for a long period of time.

To conclude, thermal power plants are detrimental to the environment and it affects all components of the biosphere. As the thermal power plant generates electricity, it is also problematic for the environment.

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