Source: Times Of India | Posted on 22 August 2019
Maharashtra govt to monitor 100 more polluting industries in state
NAGPUR: Grappling with increasing air pollution, the state government has now taken over 100 more industries under its monitoring ambit. In another new addition, the programme has also included units from the bio-medical waste.
Maharashtra is the first state in the country to launch an industrial star-rating programme jointly run by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and few other institutes.
Launched in June 2017, the first-of-its-kind programme gives star-ratings to the large industrial plants based on the average concentration of their latest stack samples (emissions from the chimney) for particulate matter. A widespread air pollutant, it can cause respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and can also lead to mortality.
Maharashtra, which has the highest number of non-attainment cities and is touted to be the country’s most polluted state after Uttar Pradesh by the World Health Organization (WHO), was monitoring more than 300 industries till now under the programme. Now, the number has gone up to 414 industrial units across 11 sectors.
Expanding the monitoring purview, the state has now included 103 more industries from different districts. Out of them, about 63% are highly polluting and have been rated one-star, implying that the particulate matter emissions from their stack is 250 milligrams per normal metric cube (mg/NM3) or more.
Thane continues to be the most toxic in terms of industrial pollution. The most polluting among the newly added industries are also based in Thane. Two years back, TOI had reported that Thane was the most polluted in the state, with its air quality index (AQI) going as high as 334.
As per the board’s data of August 2018, the highest number of hazardous industries in the state were in Thane, including six from chemical sector and one from paper and metal works each.
Overall, 48 industries from the new list are from Thane. Four industries from Nagpur and Nashik each, three from Aurangabad and Chandrapur each, 13 from Raigad, six from Ratnagiri and some more from other districts have been added.
On inclusion of bio-medical waste units into the ambit, a spokesperson said, “Many citizens living around the vicinity of such units were complaining about pollution on the star-rating website. Taking cognisance of their grievances, the board has included 11 units till now and more will be added soon.”
One of the principal investigators on the project and director of EPIC Michael Greenstone said, “MPCB’s star-rating programme is path-breaking. It is providing the public with critical information about emissions from industries and rigorously testing its impact too.”