High Levels of Nickel and Benzene Found in the Toxic Air of Panipat Thermal Station
High Levels of Nickel and Benzene Found in the Toxic Air of Panipat Thermal Station

High Levels of Nickel and Benzene Found in the Toxic Air of Panipat Thermal Station

  • 01-May-2023 2:56 PM
  • Journalist: Shiba Teramoto

New Delhi: A recent panel formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has discovered that the ambient air in eight areas near the Panipat Thermal Power Station (PTPS) contains harmful pollutants. According to the panel's findings, the concentrations of Nickel, Benzene, Benzo (a) Pyrene, Particulate matter (PM)10, and PM2.5 all exceeded the permissible limits.

The panel specifically noted that two locations had an excess concentration of Nickel, ranging between 27-30 ng/cubic metre (24 hr), above the National Ambient Air Quality standards' annual average of 20 ng/cubic metre. These findings indicate a significant risk to public health in the vicinity of the PTPS.

Recent tests have revealed that Benzene concentrations at four locations have surpassed the annual average standard of 5 ug/cubic metre, ranging between 6.2-8.7 ug/cubic metre (24hr). Additionally, Benzo (a) Pyrene concentrations were found to exceed standards at one location, ranging at 1.1 ng/cubic metre (24hr) against the annual average of 1 ng/cubic metre.

It is important to note that Nickel is a known carcinogen, and exposure to Benzene can lead to a decrease in red blood cells, and long-term exposure can result in leukaemia. Benzo (a) Pyrene is known to cause skin color changes, bronchitis, and has also been linked to cancer.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a committee comprising of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), and DC Panipat to investigate a petition filed over pollution caused by a nearby thermal power plant. The villages affected by the pollution include Sutana, Jattal, Khukhrana, Untla, Assan, and others. The investigation will particularly focus on the handling and management of fly ash in the area. The petition was filed in 2022.

According to the panel's findings, the concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 at all eight locations were above the National Ambit Air Quality (NAAQ) standards. The PM10 concentration level was found to be ranging between 155-432 ug/cubic metre (against the standard of 100 ug/cubic metre) while the PM2.5 concentration level ranged between 66-275 ug/cubic metre.

A study was conducted to analyze the PM10 concentration in the ambient air around Panipat. Data from the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring stations located in the city revealed that PM10 concentration was significantly higher in nearby villages close to the PTPP. The concentration levels ranged from 155-432 ug/cubic metre, which was much higher than the concentration levels of 70-273 ug/cubic metre, 68-394 ug/cubic metre, and 20-282 ug/cubic metre.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the concerned authorities to submit an action plan regarding remedial measures for the pollution caused by fly ash. In addition, studies on the impact of fly ash on water, air, and soil pollution are also to be carried out as per the directive.

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