Government offices to use fly ash bricks from September 1The New Indian Express – July 22, 2013
Come September, Government offices located within a radius of 100 km of fly ash generating units have to mandatorily use fly ash bricks in their buildings.
With massive generation of fly ash posing a serious challenge to the environment, the Works department has issued a notification on mandatory use of fly ash bricks which would come into effect from September 1.
Administrative departments such as Rural Development, Housing and Urban, Water Resources, Forest and Environment and Industries have been asked to start following the guidelines in this regard. In fact, from this month itself, Government buildings, irrespective of their location, have been asked to use 50 per cent of their requirement from fly ash bricks.
The major challenge before the State though is the huge generation and compared to it, the low utilisation. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) guidelines say that all fly ash must be utilised or disposed of by the fifth year.
During 2011-12, fly ash generation was estimated at 23 million tonne against which about 12.5 million tonne could be utilised in sectors such as land filling, road construction, cement manufacturing and fly ash brick making. Similarly, just half of the fly ash generated from coal burning is utilised while rest is stored in ash ponds. The cumulative accumulation of fly ash after utilisation stands at a whopping 93.86 million tonne since 2000 and its disposal is a gigantic task. The recurring ash pond breaches cause further trouble.
Interestingly, use of fly ash bricks is not going to solve the problem since brick making constitutes barely about 3.25 per cent of the utilisation as bulk of the fly ash is disposed by way of land filling and mine void filling. The State had got little success in propagating use of fly ash bricks and had to notify the mandatory use in Government building construction to show a way.
What needs to be done is popularise its use in the housing sector. Though fly ash bricks are used in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and in some industrial pockets, it is yet to penetrate into the whole of the State. That the Government is trying to act as an example is a good way to popularise it.
That is not the problem though. Given the number of thermal power units proposed to come up in the State, fly ash generation is stated to rise multi-fold in the next few years. As per the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) estimates, fly ash generation could touch the 150 million tonne mark once all the installed and proposed plants go into full capacity production.