Aluminium smelting is the second most important metallurgical industry in India. Aluminium is often turned into alloy and then used for making various products.
There are 8 aluminium smelting plants in India, located in Orissa (NALCO and BALCO), West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. India produced over 600 million tones of aluminium in 2004.
The chemical industry contributes about 3% to the GDP. The chemical industry of India is the third largest in Asia and is at twelfth position in the world.
Sulphuric acid, nitric acid, alkalies, soda ash and caustic soda are the inorganic chemicals. Sulphuric acid is used to manufacture fertilisers, synthetic fibres, plastics, adhesives, paints, dye stuffs. Soda ash is used to make glass, soaps and detergents, paper, etc.
These include petrochemicals. Petrochemicals are used for manufacturing synthetic fibres, synthetic rubber, plastics, dye-stuffs, drugs and pharmaceuticals. Organic plants are located near oil refineries or petrochemical plants.
The chemical industry is usually its own largest consumer.
Fertiliser industry is centred around the production of nitrogenous fertilisers, phosphatic fertilisers and ammonium phosphate and complex fertilisers. Complex fertilisers have a combination of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potash (K). Potash is entirely imported because India does not have any reserves of commercially viable potash or potassium compounds.
India is the third largest producer of nitrogenous fertilisers. There are 57 fertiliser units which manufacture nitrogenous and complex nitrogenous fertilisers. Out of them, 29 units manufacture urea and 9 manufacture ammonium sulphate as by-product. There 68 small units which produce single superphosphate.
Cement industry requires bulky raw materials like limestone, silica, alumina and gypsum. There are many cement plants in Gujarat because of proximity to ports.
There are 128 large and 323 mini cement plants in India.
Improvement in quality has found the Indian cement a readily available market in East Asia, Middle East, Africa and South Asia. This industry is doing well in terms of production as well as export.
Almost all types of vehicles are manufactured in India. After liberalization in 1991, many automobile manufacturers set up their base in India. With the launch of contemporary models, India became an attractive market for automobiles. At present, there are 15 manufacturers of cars and multi-utility vehicles, 9 of commercial vehicles, 14 of two and three-wheelers. Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Bangalore, Sanand, Pantnagar, etc. are the major centres of automobile industry.
Information Technology and Electronics Industry
Bangalore is often termed as the electronic capital of India. Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Coimbatore are the other important centres. There are 18 software technology parks in the country and they provide single window service and high data communication to software experts.
This industry had generated a large number of employments. Upto 31 March 2005, over one million persons were employed in the IT industry. Because of fast growth of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing); this sector has been a major earner of foreign exchange.
Industrial Pollution and Environmental Degradation
High proportion of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide create air pollution. Suspended particulate matters also create problems. Smoke is emitted from chimneys of various factories. Some industry also pose the risk of leak of hazardous chemicals; the way it happened during the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Air pollution has adverse effect on human health, animals, plants, buildings, and the atmosphere as a whole.
Organic and inorganic industrial wastes and effluents cause water pollution. Paper, pulp, chemical, textile, dyeing, petroleum refineries, tanneries, etc. are the main culprits of water pollution.
Thermal Pollution of water: It occurs when hot water from factories or thermal plants is drained into rivers and ponds before cooling. This plays havoc with the aquatic life.
Radioactive Waste: Waste from nuclear power plants contains highly radioactive materials and it needs to be properly stored. Any leakage of radioactive material can cause short term and long term damages to humans as well as to other life forms.
Noise Pollution: Noise pollution can result in constant irritation, hypertension and hearing impairment. Factory equipments, generators, electric drills, etc. are the major sources of noise pollution.
Preventing Environmental Degradation by Industry:
- Water should be reused and recycled in the industry. This will help in minimizing the use of freshwater.
- Rainwater harvesting should be promoted.
- Hot water and effluents should be treated before being released in rivers and ponds.