People, Environment

Neka Power Plant Still Burning Mazut

Neka Power Plant Still Burning Mazut Neka Power Plant Still Burning Mazut

Shahid Salimi (Neka) Power Plant, which had been banned by the prosecutor of Neka County from burning mazut, has reportedly failed to comply with the court order and is using the highly-polluting substance for energy production.

A video footage shot by eyewitnesses in the small county in Mazandaran Province has been made available to Iranian media. The footage shows brownish smoke associated with burning mazut rising from the power plant’s flue-gas stack.

“Burning natural gas produces pale white smoke, whereas using mazut for energy production leads to the emission of brown smoke that can travel for kilometers by wind and remain in the air for hours,” local residents who have lived in the vicinity of the power plant for about 30 years, told Mehr News Agency.

Following the leakage of mazut from transfer pipelines within the territories of Tazeh Abad and Nozarabad on April 20, which had caused massive soil pollution, a complaint was filed by the provincial office of the Department of Environment and the pipeline was finally closed by the order of Ali Akbar Zolfaqari, Neka’s prosecutor.   

The locals said the power plant had initially complied with the prosecutor’s order last month, as evidenced by the emission of white smoke instead of the usual brown one, but has recently reverted back to using the banned oil.

Mazut is a heavy, low quality fuel oil used in generating plants and similar applications.

To make it more environmentally friendly, many countries blend or break it down into more conventional petrochemicals such as diesel, but the low quality product is still used in countries that do not have the facilities to blend or break it down.

The oil can seriously impact soil quality and pose risks to human and animal health.

Reza Qasemi, the head of Neka’s DOE, had earlier said the power plant’s main source of fuel is natural gas and mazut is used in its absence.

“Due to a shortage of natural gas in recent years, mazut was used as the main fuel source,” he had said.