Balochistan concerned over harmful aspects of coal power plants

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ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Energy Department on Wednesday raised several environmental and social objections on the construction of two 150 megawatts coal-based power plants in Gwadar and demanded assessment reports.

According to documents, the energy department has written a letter to the director general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for the environmental and social impact assessment report in this regard.

In the letter, the provincial department questioned the discharge of the saline effluent of these plants and subsequent effect on the salinity of water in the vicinity.

Furthermore, it questioned what treatment will be given to make the discharge compatible with sea if it is to be discharged in it. It may be mentioned sea water will be used for boilers and other process purposes.

The letter further asked will there be any negative impact of the discharge on the sea water that would be treated in the Karwat desalination plant to meet Gwadar’s water needs.

Moreover, it questioned the impact of catch-heat that is expected to be absorbed by the sea water and its impact on the temperature of the water.

In addition, the letter questioned the increase in temperature and its effect on the marine life while demanding a backup environmental study.

“Are any other chemical, such as acids are reagents, expected to be result of various industrial productive processes: for instance the use of HCL acid in the chemical cleaning of water and plant’s other sub-systems. Please provide details about the migratory and produces to prevent dumping of harmful chemical into the water. Please provide evidence about in the shape of plant equipment and other relevant data such as process diagrams,” the letter indicated.

The department also asked about the amount of coal usage, required for the operation of the plants at 100pc and 50pc capacity.

How will coal be transported to the plants— from the port area, and which agency shall be responsible for ensuring that there is no coal pollution as a result of its transportation, it asked. Please elucidate with specific future plans in this regard, the letter stated.

“Gwadar is generally a high wind area. Combustion of coal creates a copious amount of ash. What are the planned measures to contain the ash in a properly enclosed space, so that it is not lifted by the wind and thrown into the adjacent sea and what is the planned method of disposal of stored ash that is used in brickmaking and landfilling.”

Similarly, the storage of coal arrangement may also be explained and migratory measures be clearly elaborated, the letter added.