Ispat Industries, Essar Steel and RINL top the list of steel makers that comply with the environmental norms.

This is based on the green ratings by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which analysed 21 steel makers with a capacity of over 0.5 million tonnes per annum to find out ‘how clean and green' their operations are.

The steel makers were rated over a period of two years on about 150 parameters – from technology to process efficiency and from pollution to occupational health, safety and compliance.

Though the performance of the top three companies can be termed as ‘average', interestingly, these do not own any captive iron ore linkages.

“There is an economic reason for these companies to be efficient as they depend on the market for their raw material,” said Ms Sunita Narain, Director-General, CSE.

CSE, as part of its Green Ratings Project (GRP) for the steel sector, has analysed the quantum of resources used by these companies to produce steel, their emissions, waste disposal and the way they handled issues relating to domestic communities.

The GRP rated companies that agreed to participate voluntarily as well as those that do not. Data were collected from many sources, including industry and verified by plant and site visits, said Mr Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director-General, CSE. Thirteen of the 21 companies voluntarily disclosed their data, while the others, including four units of SAIL, did not participate.

Mr Bhushan said Indian steel makers consume 40 per cent more energy than their global counterparts, use 20 per cent more water and emit 50 per cent more. The findings have implications for expansion plans of this core sector and calls for immediate corrective action.

“If performance remains as poor, then growth will come at the cost of environment and lead to protest and unacceptable degradation,” he said.

(This article was published on June 4, 2012)
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