Air pollution is among the most pressing challenges in creating a healthy society. It has been a bane on Indians’ public health for decades as the State of Global Air Report 2020 underlined. To discuss this, Health Issues India spoke with T. M. Chen, president of Continental Carbon India Limited (CCIL) and Master of Chemical Engineering from National Tsing Hua University. He held a prior work experience as the president of Chi Mei Materials Technology Corp. (now renamed as Cheng Mei Materials Technology Corp.).
- According to the State of Global Air Report 2020, air pollution is now the world’s fourth-leading risk factor for early death. What, according to you, are the major factors that lead to air pollution in India?
The Delhi National Capital Region has been experiencing hazardous air quality for the last few months. However, the main sources contributing to air pollution are – vehicle exhaust, heavy industry including energy production, small-scale industries including brick kilns, resuspended dust on the roads due to vehicle movement and construction activities, open waste burning, combustion of various fuels for cooking, lighting, and heating, in-situ power generation via diesel generator sets and stubble burning during the winter season. Sources of each of these pollutants vary in terms of percent contributions from various sources. Additionally, seasonal influences from dust storms, forest fires, open field fires during harvest season, and sea salt near coastal areas add to the underlying problem of air pollution. In such a scenario, CCIL ensures to always showcase its commitment towards the environment.
- What do you think of the rising AQI levels in Delhi NCR? Is there a way to control the rising AQI levels by reducing, eliminating, or preventing pollution at its source and by identifying key pollution controlling elements?
The rising AQI level has always been an issue of major concern to be resolved especially in winter season due to the climate and wind direction. The onus to reduce, eliminate and prevent pollution not only lies on the farmers or the industries in Delhi NCR but on each and every individual to understand their responsibility towards the environment.
- To what extent do you think the government is responsible in controlling these harmful emissions?
Discussions on air pollution largely focus on the high ambient PM levels in north India in the winter season and the impacts on people’s health. However, we need more discussions for the long-term adverse health effects of chronically high pollution levels throughout the year. To combat air pollution in the long run, more awareness needs to be created among policymakers and the general public to set up phased reviews on the progress to control the harmful emissions.
- How important is it for manufacturing facilities to optimise the factory’s operations by enhancing different parts of their operations to save energy, thus restricting the facility’s overall emissions to combat air pollution?
It is very important for manufacturing facilities to enhance actions of the operation to save energy and CCIL has always taken this concept as its top priority. The company already implements systems like Process Heat Exchanger and Waste Heat Recovery Power Plant to efficiently save and consume energy as much as possible.
- How does CCIL showcase its commitment towards the environment? Also, what are the technological innovations being implemented by CCIL to curb carbon emissions in the region?
CCIL is signatory to the code of conduct for affirmative action defined by CII(Confederation of India Industries) and strictly follows CII’s mission on sustainable growth pursuing growth, based on protocol we already implement following systems: Washing tower, Desulfurization tower, Negative pressure system to curb any carbon emissions in our region.
- What can we expect from a company like CCIL, which manufactures carbon black? How is the company adhering to emission norms?
As a carbon black manufacturing company, CCIL has always focused on the environmental relationship with its community. It strictly adheres to every emission norms from the instruction of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Confederation of India Industries (CII), ISO 14001: 2015 Certification (Environmental Management Systems), and OHSAS 18001: 2007 Certification (Occupational Health & Safety Managements Systems), etc.
- With the world tackling pollution and finding it hard to find sustainable solutions, how successful and sustainable is the concept of circular economy in the current scenario?
As a member of the CSRC group, CCIL is committed to the core values of the group- a circular economy and a green life sustainable company. CCIL practices the concept laid by the CSRC group and repurposes the industrial by-product from petroleum cracking or steel making plants, such as bottom oil, creosote oil, or coal tar oil, and removes residual substances through specially designed reactors with high-temperature, adding value to the product through circular economics.
- How is CCIL contributing to the growth of the Indian economy? Does CCIL indulge in any type of skill development community programs?
Just as the mission of CSRC Group is for renewable energy and resources, Continental Carbon has always been committed to create an eco-friendly business model. The company has adopted industrial by-product from petroleum cracking or steel making industries as its raw materials to produce carbon black and along with converting its by-product, steam, as the most pure and clean energy to sustain the surrounding area. By utilising the steam which the company produces, CCIL also generates electricity and exports it to the power station for civil and industrial purposes.
Every year, CCIL opens its door to all colleges for industrial visits and accepts summer internships. The students are then allowed to monitor, observe, and work on some project of their choice under the guidance of senior management.
- Do tell us more about CCIL’s mission and long-term vision.
CCIL takes pride in its vision of an “Eco-friendly civilization” and mission to work towards “Renewable energy and resources”. Considering the importance of carbon black manufacturing and its role in the country’s development, it becomes important to understand that CCIL believes in not making any compromises on work safety and environmental protection, and always tries to find out the best solutions for environmental protection.
- Since CCIL engages in a lot of CSR activities, what has the company planned for the way forward in 2021?
While the larger goal is to work towards environment protection and development of the local communities, in 2021, we will closely work with the local schools by enhancing the overall infrastructure and providing scholarships. Such initiatives called “the Cement Academy” have already been introduced in our sites in Taiwan and China and we plan to introduce the same in India to encourage the future talents.
Read more of Health Issues India’s interviews with thought leaders in health here.