Latur industries fare poorly in MPCB’s star-rating portal

Source: The Times Of India | Posted on 16 April 2019

Latur industries fare poorly in MPCB’s star-rating portal

Industries in Latur are significantly contributing to air pollution and are one of the major factors that have earned the city the title of being one of the most polluted cities in Maharashtra, as is evident from an online portal of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

In a bid to acquaint the industries and the common people about industrial pollution, MPCB launched its online portal 'mpcb.info' under the Maharashtra star-rating programme last year. The programme, run with the support of researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago's India (EPIC-India), gives details on industrial particulate matter emissions in a comprehensible manner. The least polluting industries are rated 5-stars and the once which cause maximum pollution are given 1-star so that people can easily identify the polluting industries in their city or district.

The industries in Latur, which have been listed on the portal, received either 1 or 2-star rating, implying that the industries are heavily contributing to air pollution in the district. Most industries, with the exception of one which is a chemical industry, deal with sugar.

Incidentally, Latur is listed among the 17 most polluted cities in Maharashtra by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

According to air quality expert Geetanjali Kaushik, who helped Latur Municipal Corporation prepare an air quality action plant, Latur is not an industry intensive zone. "It chiefly has sugar industries. However, it is important for the MPCB to regularly monitor industrial pollution and check if the industries are complying with the emission norms," said Kaushik.

South Asia executive director for EPIC Anant Sudarshan said that the star-rating programme aimed at informing both citizens and industry owners how the factories were performing in comparison to others in the state. "This ranking provides the incentive to industries in Latur to reduce air pollution and match their emission levels as per the best performing factories in the state," said Sudarshan.

Kaushik added that air pollution in Latur could be attributed to its dry weather, low vegetation and depleting groundwater levels. "The city's priority should be on increasing plantation while the industries should focus on upgrading its systems to ensure the air quality doesn't deteriorate further," she said.