30 July, 2019 | The Hindu
Several of these are getting old, slacking on water use efficiency: report
India's fertilizer industry is improving on energy efficiency and cutting on greenhouse gases. However, several of them are slacking on water consumption and water pollution parameters. Some plants are also getting affected because of lack of water and their water sources are getting depleted and disappearing very fast.
Several of these plants are ageing and, in spite of performing "reasonably well" in meeting health and safety standards, most of them need to upgrade on site and off site disaster management plants.
These findings are part of an 18-month-long process, wherein the country's fertilizer sector was rated on more than 50 parameters by the Centre for Science and Environment. The rating covered all the 28 operational plants in the country. About 57% of the plants voluntarily participated in the rating programme by disclosing information and allowing teams to verify them on site.
The remaining plants were rated on the basis of information available in the public domain and stakeholder's surveys.
Refused to participate
National Fertilizers Limited and Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited, the biggest public sector companies, refused to voluntarily participate in the process.
The top rated plant was Grasim Industries Ltd. Indo-Gulf Fertilizers unit at Jagdishpur, U.P. "This plant, with 61% score, has received the coveted Four Leaves award for its superior performance in energy use and GHG emissions, its good EHS (environment, health and safety) measures, and social responsibility, and above all, its transparency in sharing information," the CSE said in a statement.
The next three winners were Hazira (Gujarat) unit of Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd., the Panambur (Karnataka) unit of Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. and the Babrala (U.P.) unit of Yara Fertilizers India Pvt. Ltd.
The fertilizer industry contributes to two major environmental challenges - imbalance in the nitrogen cycle and climate change. The efficiency of fertilizer use in India is poor: nitrogen use efficiency is a mere 35% for lowland rice and under 50% for upland crops. Nitrogen pollution of surface and groundwater in the country has reached alarming proportions. The imbalanced application of these fertilizers was leading to widespread soil sickness, the report added.