Foundries are one of the contributors to air pollution in Rajasthan, says a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) assessment

In Jaipur district itself, along with other metal-based industries, they account for around 26 per cent of the pollution load 

A CSE-Rajasthan Pollution Control Board workshop lays down a roadmap for improving environmental performance of the foundry sector in Rajasthan. The two agencies are working together to counter air pollution problems in the state 

They point out that with better practices and cleaner technologies, pollution load can be reduced by 30 per cent 

Jaipur, August 2, 2023: Jaipur has 11 major industrial clusters, almost all of which house polluting industries – of these, the Vishwakarma Industrial Area (VKIA) accounts for the highest pollution load: 33 per cent. A lot of this pollution from VKIA is coming from the 46 foundries that are located in the cluster. In fact, metal-based industries (majorly foundries) are the top-most polluting sector in Jaipur, contributing around 26 per cent of the pollution load in the district. 

This data has emerged from a recent assessment of the foundry sector in Rajasthan carried out jointly by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based think tank, and the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB). The two agencies came together to organise and conduct a workshop on the subject here today, with the aim of discussing a roadmap for improving the environmental performance of the foundry sector in the state.  

The workshop brought together the key players, including the pollution control board, foundry associations, technology providersetc on one platform. It was addressed by Vijai N, member secretary, RSPCB – who inaugurated the event – and Nivit Kumar Yadav, programme director, industrial pollution, CSE. 

There are around 4,500 foundry units in the country; Rajasthan has an estimated 150-200 of them.The major foundry clusters in Rajasthan are in Jaipur and Ajmer districts. These industries cater to the requirements of sectors such as automobiles, general engineering parts, valves and pumps, agricultural implements etc. 

Many foundries are cupola-based and use coke as a fuel for melting metal in the furnace;this results in emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, suspended particulate matter, dust, ashetc, generating a huge amount of air pollution. 

Says Yadav: “Foundries are now gradually switching over to induction furnaces or coke-less cupolas and other cleaner technologies.Nevertheless,the sector needsclose attention -- a clear roadmap and an enabling environment is essential for its sustainable future.” 

Inaugurating the day-long workshop, Vijai N said: “Air pollution is one of the key challenges that industries are struggling with. However, majority of the times, the discourse on this challenge is dominated by the large-scale industrial sectors. The small and medium scale industries – of which foundries are an essential part – get left behind.” 

“If the environmental performance of foundries has to be improved, technological innovation, switching to cleaner fuels, and enhancementof material circularity is the need of the hour,” added the RSPCB member secretary. 

In 2022, CSE, in association with the RSPCB, had done a case study of VKIA. The study found thatthe most common catalysts contributing to industrial emissions from the sector is its continued reliance on high ash coke as a fuel, old and obsolete technology, non-working of air pollution control devices, and poor housekeeping practices. 

Based on the 2022 study, the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board has rolled out guidelines for best practices in foundries (cupola furnaces) in Rajasthan. Vijay Sharma, RSPCB regional officer for Jaipur Northpresented these guidelines at the workshop. Said Sharma: “The RSPCB will ensure that the guidelines are implemented on the ground to get fruitful results and the pollution load from the sector gets considerably reduced.” 

Speaking at the event, Yadav pointed out: “The emissions from small-scale industries usually remain unaccounted for, despite this being a highly energy-intensive sector -- such industries need a clear pathway to improve their environmental performance.CSE’s 2022 study on VKIA clearly highlights that the sector needs to focus on issues like material circularity by reusing the burnt sand and slag, use of cleaner fuels like Low Ash Metallurgical (LAM) coke or natural gas, installation of updated technologies such as energy-efficient furnaces and air pollution control devices to curb pollution and reduce its carbon footprintsand emissions.”  

What CSE and RSPCB recommend: 

  • Use of cleaner fuels: Coke-based foundries should use Low Ash Metallurgical Coke (LAM) as a fuel.This has low sulphur content (less than 0.6 per cent) and low ash content(less than 11 per cent). In the longer term, foundries should explore the feasibility of shifting to gas.
  • Use of latest technologies: Single blast cupola-based foundries should be shifted to Divided Blast Cupola (DBC) furnace. This will reduce coke consumption by approximately 18 to 20 per cent and pollution load by 30 per cent.In the case of Induction furnaces, foundries should shift to energy-efficient induction furnaces such as Coreless furnace or IGBT type furnace. This would reduce their specific energy consumption by 30 to 40 per cent,thus reducing their GHG emissionsas well.
  • Controlling fugitive emissions: To control fugitive emissions from the foundry units, Air Pollution Control Devices (APCDs) should be installed at various processes such as pouring, melting, knocking out, fettling, and sand preparation plant, etc.
  • Installation of common infrastructural facilities: Foundries should reuse the sand as much as possible and send the used sand to sand recycling or reclamation units. The RSPCB can explore the possibility of installing a common sand reclamation unit in foundry clusters.
  • Effective utilisation of waste: The slag generated from the foundry units should be quantified and scientifically disposed of; the sector should explore the feasibility of reusing it in different areas such as cement industries, road making, etc. 

According to DivyanshUpadhyay, programme officer, industrial pollution, CSE: “The sector has a lot of potential to flourish and grow. The policies need to be revisited and reformed to make it more environmentally compliant.” 

For more on this, please contact: Sukanya Nair of CSE,, 8816818864.