First evidence of industrial fly-ash in an Antarctic ice core

First evidence of industrial fly-ash in an Antarctic ice core

  • Recently, researchers have identified Spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs), a component of fly ash, in Antarctic ice cores for the first time. Scientists are giving the date of these particles as 1936.
  • The only source of SCPs is fossil fuel combustion. Apart from this, there is no other man-made or natural source of these. Thus, they are a clear environmental indicator of industrialization.
  • Fly ash is fine powder. It is a by-product obtained from the combustion of coal in thermal power stations (TPS).
  • The amount of ash in Indian coal ranges from 30-45%, whereas in imported coal it is only 10-15%. Therefore, Indian coal is considered to be of low grade.
  • The disposal of fly ash not only requires a large area, but also pollutes the air and water.
  • It looks similar to Portland cement, but has a different chemical composition. Fly ash is toxic due to the presence of organic pollutants, heavy metals etc.

Composition: It contains oxides of silica, aluminum and calcium in sufficient quantity. Apart from this, very small amounts of arsenic, boron, chromium, lead etc. are found in it.

Uses of Fly Ash:

  • Agriculture – It improves water holding capacity and aeration of soil.
  • Construction Industry – It is used in the manufacture of cement, bricks etc.

Government Measures:

  • Mobile App ‘Ash Track’ has been launched for fly ash management.
  • Fly ash based products will be used compulsorily in all government schemes. For example Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana etc.
  • Maharashtra has become the first state to adopt the Fly Ash Utilization Policy, 2016.

Source – Down to Earth

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