News Excerpt
A fly ash dyke collapsed at Reliance’s Ultra Mega Power Project in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. This created havoc as the toxic sludge spilled and destroyed farms.

About Fly Ash
Flyash, is the after-burnt tiny coal dust, a by-product from the thermal power plants. It is alumino-silicate, non-reactive and inert particle which may remain suspended in the air from few seconds to several months.
The primary effect of fly ash production is the generation of a number of problems, mainly because of its minute size, non-reactive nature, presence of toxic elements and huge production.

Problems with Fly ash
•    Fly ash cannot be disposed-off in the open field because it pollutes the air, soil and ground water.
•    Transportation of fly ash is difficult since the lightweight particles tend to fly causing air pollution.
•    Long inhalation causes serious respiratory problems.
•    Fly ash affects horticulture, agriculture and forest fields including humans.
•    In case of Disposal in sea, river or ponds it damage the aquatic life; fly ash causes siltation problems.
•    Long and continuous use of fly ash as fertilizer makes hardpan underground.
•    For power plant the requirement of huge land for making ash ponds or dikes.

    Till now, the major source of power in India is burning of low-quality coal in thermal power plants. About 62% of the coal produced in India is utilized for electricity generation. The huge burning of low quality Indian coal results into generation of various by products like bottom ash, boiler slag and flyash.
    The most vital question of enormous importance on flyash to date is its disposal. Mostly the flyash is disposed-off in the ash pond, but there is always tremendous pressure to find the additional area for its disposal.
    Power demand is increasing day by day and the quantity of fly ash would further increase. The disposal management is the important aspect. Efficient and sustainable disposal management can provide a reliable solution to our energy security and environmental security as well.

Way Forward
Ash Handling: With the introduction of the super thermal power plants, production and disposal of fly ash will continue to be a challenge for plant management.Therefore, there is dire need to stimulate academics and researchers to address the issue of Ash handling. A lot of emphasis is given on the biological and non-biological utilization of fly ash.
Stricter Norms: In order to avoid such collapses in future, Government should implement strict norms and non-compliance rules, for coal and power plant industry.