Specific water consumption reported to be 3.62 kiloliter per ton of crude steel
Specific Carbon Dioxide Emission was 2.56 ton per ton of crude steel
Sanjaya K. Mishra
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is an Indian state-owned steel making company. SAIL is one of India’s fastest growing Public Sector Units, with an annual turnover of Rs. 58,297 Crore for fiscal year 2017-18. A review of the SAIL Corporate Sustainability Report for the FY 2017-18 was carried out on the basis of selected environmental parameters.
In his message SAIL’s Chairman stated “The Company firmly believes in a sustainable approach for its business that is in equilibrium with the three bottom lines-financial, social and environmental. Achieving financial and environmental excellence as well as honouring social responsibility has been the ‘key mantra’ for SAIL since inception.”
The Chairman’s message further outlines “Environmental issues have always been a major thrust area for SAIL. The Company continues to make sincere efforts for improving its environmental footprints. Dedicated and concerted actions taken for environment management have resulted in noteworthy improvement of the environmental performance of the Company and best ever results have been achieved for indicators like particulate matter (PM) emission load, specific water consumption, specific carbon dioxide emission, specific effluent load, etc. During the last five years, PM emission load has reduced by around 14%, specific carbon dioxide emissions have reduced by more than 4% and specific effluent load has come down by more than 25%. With a determined drive for enhancement of greenery, more than 8.27 lakhs of saplings have been planted during FY 2017-18.”
According to the report particulate emission during 2015-16 was 0.81 kg per ton of crude steel (kg/tcs), which went down to 0.77 kg/tcs in 2016-17 and 0.74 kg/tcs in 2017-18.
The report describes that adoption of clean technologies helped the steel plants to curb the carbon dioxide emissions level and thus during the last five years carbon dioxide emission has reduced by more than 4%. The specific carbon dioxide emission during 2017-18 was 2.56 t/tcs. Further, SAIL is also participating in the World Steel Association (WSA) carbon dioxide data collection system through Global Steel Sector Approach.
In the report water has been described as a precious natural national resource with almost fixed quantum of availability and water conservation through optimum use of water and efficient water recycling is one of the primary objectives of the SAIL. The Steel Industry is one of the most water intensive industries. IN SAIL, water is drawn to meet the requirement for industrial use from surface water sources, primarily perennial rivers and streams and internal reservoirs. It is also stated that SAIL does not encourage use of ground water. However, the report shows groundwater usage in Chandrapur Ferro Alloy Plant (CFP). With a structured management approach, awareness and technological intervention, SAIL has been able to provide better water resources for industrial as well as human use within its operations. Over a period of time, SAIL Plants and Mines have been taking up various initiatives for reduction in water consumption for its operation. A series of measures to reduce water consumption have been listed in the report. Regular efforts are being made to reuse and recycle the treated effluents to the maximum possible extent in order to achieve minimum effluent discharge and also to minimize the pollution load on the water environment. However, to conserve this precious resource further, water conservation has now become a priority area both in its works and the townships and the society as a whole. Specific water consumption was 3.83 kiloliter per ton of crude steel (kiloliter/tcs) in 2015-16, which fell to 3.75 kiloliter/tcs during 2016-17 and 3.62 kiloliter/tcs during 2017-18.
Specific effluent discharge in SAIL came down to 1.78 kiloliter per ton of saleable steel (KL/tss) in 2017-18, as compared to 1.91 KL/tss and 2.14 KL/tss during 2016-17 and 2015-16, respectively. However, the higher side of Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) values in Integrated Steel Plants (ISPs) were not encouraging in most of the except Rourkela Steel Plant and Bokaro Steel Plant. BOD values in Special Steel Plants were showing better results as compared to ISPs, except in case of Chandrapur Ferro Alloy Plant (CFP), where the reason has been quoted as the disposal limit is high.
The production of steel is associated with considerable generation of solid wastes like slag, dust, and sludge, etc. Therefore waste minimization has a significant role in steel plants. Furthermore, utilization of waste through integrated waste management has gained special importance in the today’s scenario, as these wastes have a wide ranging impact on the environment. The report says SAIL has adopted the “4Rs Policy” (reduce, recover, recycle and reuse) across all its processes. The slag being a major portion of the solid wastes generated, granulated Blast Furnace (BF) slag is used for cement making while Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) slag is used internally for sinter making and also as material for road base, internal rail track ballast, etc. Other wastes like, BF flue dust, mill scale, lime/dolo fines and refractory wastes are used internally and also sold to outside agencies. In the case of ISPs, the utilization of BF slag was reported to be above 90%, while LD BOF slag was utilized up to nearly 60%. Utilization of Twin Hearth Furnace (THF) was by merely 13%, while BF blue dust was up to 89%. BF sludge was also utilized by 8.8% only.
The report could also contain any data on characterization of solid wastes. Regarding hazardous wastes, the report states “Hazardous Waste Generated at the ISPs during the year was 141,093 Ton.” There is no characterization of hazardous wastes. Further, the quantification of hazardous wastes and e-wastes could also add more values to the sustainability report.
SAIL Sustainability Report states that more than 8.27 lakh saplings were planted all across during the FY 2017-18. Approximately, 201.54 lakh trees have been planted since inception. The tree plantation during the last three years was increased by little above 5%. Deliberation on survival rate, area under plantation and list of predominant species may bring further value to the report. The Chairman’s message shows that the company registered a growth of 19%, however, the growth in environmental indicators did not show a similar trend.
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