For the first time, the Union environment ministry has notified a new list of standard conditions with bringing an exclusive health assessment as an essential point to give environment clearance to thermal power plants.
Under its new order, issued on 19th of November 2018, new thermal power plants in India will now have to comply with ‘human health and environment’ criteria as part of their mandatory environmental clearance procedures.
The company will have to take into account chronic exposure to air and noise pollution which may adversely affect health of not only workers but also of people living in its vicinity. This baseline health status within the study area will be part of the company’s application, seeking environment clearances for setting up new thermal power plants anywhere in the country.
The ministry’s office memorandum (OM) on the issue, pointed out that the condition will not only apply to coal and lignite based TPPs, but also to waste to energy plants that pose a tremendous health burden on local populations and workers. In addition to getting the nods, the company will also have to get bi-annual health check-up of all workers done and take mitigation measures to address “endemic disease”, the memorandum adds.
Further, the ministry’s memorandum has enlisted as many as 14 broad areas on several other new general conditions including activities under the Corporate Environmental Responsibilities (CER) where the companies will have to earmark fund for taking up various works for ecological preservation and restoration. Majority of the condition pertain to stricter norms on air, water, noise, green belt, effluent release, biodiversity conservations and marine facilities.
“These standard conditions will be considered by Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) at the time of appraisal of proposals for grant of EC. The EAC at the time of appraisal may modify, omit and stipulate additional conditions based on the project specific requirements,” said the ministry.