The sugar industry in Uttar Pradesh has reached out to the National Sugar Institute (NSI) in Kanpur for assistance in reducing its freshwater consumption and effluent discharge. A recent meeting between NSI officials and representatives from the UP Sugar Mills Association discussed a plan of action to address these concerns.
With guidance from the National Sugar Institute, the sugar industry has already implemented several initiatives that have led to significant improvements in specific freshwater consumption, wastewater discharge, and wastewater quality. These improvements are evident through the specific Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand loading (BOD) over the past six crushing seasons.
When comparing data from 2017-18 to 2022-23 for 147 sugar factories situated in the Ganga basin, there has been a noticeable decrease in the average freshwater requirement, going from 155 liters per ton to 77 liters per ton of sugarcane. Likewise, effluent discharge has reduced from 190 liters per ton to 135 liters per ton of sugarcane, and BOD loading has decreased from 0.0065 kg per ton to 0.0028 kg per ton of sugarcane, as reported by Professor Narendra Mohan, Director of the National Sugar Institute in Kanpur.
Nevertheless, there is still room for further enhancement. The institute has a vision to further reduce freshwater consumption through the adoption of innovative technology aimed at minimizing steam usage and implementing cost-effective wastewater treatment, Professor Narendra Mohan further emphasized.
In response to changing market requirements, the sugar industry needs to employ diverse processes to produce sugar of desired qualities. This, in turn, may result in variations in freshwater consumption, and they are working on implementing a charter to maintain lower freshwater requirements while ensuring the quality and quantity of effluent remain in compliance with established norms.