Consider the following statements:
- Coal ash contains arsenic, lead and mercury.
- Coal-fired power plants release sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen into the environment.
- High ash content is observed in Indian coal.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2020 Prelims]
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
- Statement 1 is correct as coal itself is not toxic but when burned, it produces ash containing harmful elements like lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, and selenium that pose a threat to human health.
- Statement 2 is also correct as thermal power plants, particularly those burning fossil fuels like coal, are major sources of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to acid rain.
- Similarly, statement 3 is correct as India’s domestic coal reserves have a high ash content ranging from 40 to 45 percent.