Air Pollution

Breach of Air Pollution Emission Norms

A complete timeline of events

Air Offenders of India – is a collaborative project that puts together a timeline since the first announcement of new emission standards until today. It chronicles everything that has been said either for or against the new law that requires coal power operators to curb pollution. It calls out those who have deliberately made false statements with the intention of stalling implementation.

In this live blog, you will find up-to-date information about the status of thermal power plant emission standards compliance in India:

2021 January

Power ministry asks MOEF&CC to dilute emission norms: The Union power ministry has asked the environment ministry to dilute norms for sulphur dioxide emissions from coal-based thermal power plants (TPPs). It cited unachievable deadlines and unnecessary norms in many regions in an office memorandum to its environment counterpart January 2, 2021.

2020 December

It’s confirmed: Air pollution caused Ella’s death: Ella has become the first person in the UK – and potentially the world – for whom air pollution is listed as a cause of death.

2020 October 29

Environment ministry relaxes NOx norms: The environment Ministry caved in to power producers’ claim that meeting the stipulated NOx limits were impossible, even though Hindalco limited was able to achieve those limits for two of its coal plants.

2020 October 13

Outrageous: CEA proposes relaxing air pollution control deadline. Says that in places where ambient SOx levels are low, coal power plant be allowed to pollute for extended period of time.

2020 September

Delay is causing irreparable damage to the health of the children: Missed deadlines each year causes an estimated 88,000 cases of childhood asthma, 1,40,000 cases of pre-term births and 3,900 premature deaths among children.

2020 July

Power Producers’ latest plea, another 3 years sought: Association of power producers has sought more time to install emission controlling equipment at their plants, citing various issues, including COVID-19.

2020 January

India’s power industry continues pushing to relax the norms for lethal nitrous oxide or NOx emissions.

2019 December

There is no link between air pollution and mortality: Prakash Javadekar

There were no Indian studies that showed a “direct correlation” between pollution and mortality, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says in the Lok Sabha.

2019 October

“But where’s the technology?”

The power producers finally wake up, 4 years late, with trumped up concerns over the emission control technology that they needed to install by 2017.

2019 May

After delaying the implementation of clean air technologies by five years (2017 to 2022), the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change gives in-principle approval for diluting air pollution rules for coal-fired thermal power plants.

2018 September

Coal-fired power plants likely to miss the deadline for the second time.

In a hearing, the Supreme Court states “it is quite clear that the Power Ministry has no intention to do anything to reduce pollution. It shows that even the 2022 deadline cannot be met. It [the government affidavit] is illusory in nature. It appears that the Union of India proposes to do nothing in the matter.”

2018 August

A new study notes that manufacturing and maintenance of pollution control equipment is a 3.96 lakh crore industry. The benefits of this investment far outweigh the costs — it estimates the monetary value of the 3.2 million avoided premature deaths and respiratory hospital admissions and work-loss days at ₹9.62 lakh crore.

2018 July

The Supreme Court pulls up the government for putting “the health of citizens to ransom” by giving an extension of five years to over 500 coal-based thermal power plants to adhere to stricter emission norms.

2018 February

Coal Power Companies get a new deadline and so a huge ‘breather’: For the next three years, Indians will continue to suffer from air pollutant sulphur-dioxide (SO2), as the deadline for coal-fired thermal power plants to install flue-gas desulfurization has been extended.

2017 December

Deadline blatantly BREACHED—Indians will have to wait much longer for cleaner air.

Disappointing yet unsurprising turn of events—the deadline set by the government for the coal power plants to ensure air pollution control is not met.

The government should try to implement the norms as soon as possible, Justice M. B. Lokur, who is heading the two-judge bench, tells government.

2017 November

The SC asks the government to send a response on the progress of implementation of new emission norms for coal-based power plants, with just a month left to comply.

A government affidavit filed before the Supreme Court argues that all coal power plants could not be taken offline to retrofit equipment because—WAIT FOR IT—power supply from thermal plants, which supply 80% of India’s electricity, could not be interrupted.

Government continues negotiating the clean-air deadline

The environment ministry had originally set a two years compliance time after numerous meetings with the power ministry, the power industry and the Central Pollution Control Board. Now the same ministry is arguing that so many power plants cannot go offline and is urging the Supreme Court to push the deadline to 2022.

2017 October

India allows 16 new coal power plants that violate stricter air pollution standards. The environment ministry did not take any action against the new power stations violating the new 2015 pollution norms.

2017 September

Environment ministry plans to amend its own rules: In a meeting held on September 1, 2017, the Ministry of Environment decides that the new norms should begin to be implemented from 2018.

Private companies such as Reliance Power Ltd, Adani Power Ltd and GMR and state-run NTPC Ltd, request an extension to the December deadline to meet the new pollution standards.

2017 July

Indian power companies seek billions of dollars of public money.

2017 March

India and China have the world’s deadliest Air Pollution: The Health Effects Institute study reveals that India alone accounted for 25.7% of all early deaths caused by air pollution across the globe.

2017 January

Coal-based power to get ₹ costlier ₹: Citizens brace for some power tariff hikes as coal power companies might start raising a whopping Rs 2.5 lakh crore from consumers to compensate for the investments they are required to make to meet pollution emission norms.

2016 November

One entire year later: Deadline to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants may be extended: “The deadline to meet all the new standards may be pushed back beyond the original December 2017 target,” says S.D. Dubey, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, the Ministry of Power.

2016 January

The Association of Power Producers claim that they would need to spend Rs 2.4 lakh crore over the next two years for the technical upgrades to meet the pollution control norms.

2015 December

New emission standards for air pollution from coal plants announced for India by the Environment Ministry!

2-year deadline given to coal power companies to adhere to the new air pollution control norms.

By December 2017, 300 coal power plants across India should install scrubbers, filters and the flue gas de-sulphurisation (FGD) technology to control the emissions (Particulate Matter, SO2 and NOx) on burning of coal.

2015 May


The use of coal to generate power may cause between 186,500 and 229,500 die premature deaths annually as a result of a spike in air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants.

Toxic gases (SOx and NOx) and fine particulate matter produced during coal combustion get released into the air we breathe that can easily enter our lungs and choke the airways.

One reply on “Breach of Air Pollution Emission Norms”

Government should prioritise our health than the laxity of lazy government power companies and only better return seeking private companies.
They should understand they are in power for citizens welfare first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *