Complaints about the environmental impacts of fertiliser industries in India are quite common. However, would you believe if we say they are one of the most climate-friendly in the world?
Yes, a recent report from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) shows that, globally, the Indian fertiliser industry is among the most energy-efficient and the least in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The report is based on first of its kind of environmental rating of the Indian fertiliser industry.
The Delhi-based think tank employed Green Rating Project (GRP), which is claimed to be one of the most credible and transparent rating systems that assess the environmental performance of industries. The 18-month-long rating process was done on 50 parameters for the 28 operational fertiliser plants in India.
Among the 28 firms assessed, The Grasim Industries Ltd’s Indo Gulf Fertilisers unit in Uttar Pradesh led the list as the best environmental performer. The second place was tied between Hazira unit of KRIBHCO in Gujarat and Panambur unit of Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd. (MCFL) in Karnataka.
Speaking to The Weather Channel, the Deputy Manager-Environment of MCFL, Chinmaya Delampady said, “In terms of Specific Energy consumption per tonne of urea produced, MCFL is the best Naphtha-based plant in India. The firm has achieved Zero Effluent discharge and all the effluents are treated and reused. Recognising these achievements, CSE has ranked us one of the most environment-friendly fertiliser industry in India after an assessment that went on for over a year. Happy to be ranked second in India.”
Other environmental concerns remain
From water pollution to plant safety, Indian fertiliser industries have often been criticised over environmental governance. Therefore, despite good performance on the energy front, the deputy director-general of CSE and head of the Green Rating Project highlights the need for massive innovation in fertiliser industry to move towards sustainability.
The rating process has pointed out the issues that are holding back the Indian firms from achieving overall environment excellence. The report says that water use and pollution, soil quality and pollution, and nitrogen pollution in soil and groundwater comes as major drawbacks of the Indian fertiliser industry. The report, ‘Grain by Grain’ was released by Prakash Javadekar, Union minister for environment, forest and climate change, on Monday.
The CSE director general Sunita Narain opened her address highlighting the robustness and transparency of the rating process. She said that the results can be used by the firms as well as policy-makers to improve policies and practices, in addition to giving recognition to good performers and forcing the bad ones to improve.
Prakash Javadekar while presenting the report said, “The Indian fertiliser industry is one of the most important industrial sectors of the country. In this unique rating and study, CSE and its GRP have once again managed to bring before us a comprehensive and extremely detailed analysis of a key industrial sector and its environmental performance in the country”.