07 May World’s worst air drives $25 Billion clean up
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to accelerate economic growth without further damaging the environment, and has proposed a $25 billion revamp of older utilities. Modi’s revamp plan has been prompted by a 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) report that stated India was home to 11 cities that were ranked in the top 20 with respect to the worst air quality in the world. Delhi was ranked number 1 in the world.
Approximately 24 kilometres from central Delhi, the smokestacks of the State-owned Badarpur coal fired power plant emit a blackish-brown exhaust while nearby residents use handkerchief-style masks to avoid breathing in the soot and fly ash emitted by the stacks. Fly ash also falls from tractors that transport the waste from the plant to the disposal pond approximately 5 kilometres from the 705 Megawatt plant. The State owned utility NTPC Ltd wants to reduce emissions from each Indian facility, starting with the Badarpur facility. NTPC plans to spend $189 million per year on technology upgrades.
Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal wants to transform the area surrounding the plant and make them more family friendly, starting with retiring old coal fired power plants and replacing them with larger more modern plants. Improving the efficiency of coal mines and the transportation of coal are also part of the $25 Billion spend.