‘Over half industries in state polluting’

Source: The Times Of India | Posted on 14 August 2018

‘Over half industries in state polluting’

Over half of the 13,200 pollution tests from industries in Maharashtra were found to be “exceeding” the regulatory standards.
This fact was brought out in ‘A Roadmap Towards Cleaning India’s Air’ which was released in New Delhi on Monday during the national conference on Innovations in Pollution Regulation. It was organized by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and Tata Centre for Development at University of Chicago (TCD).

To help improve India’s air quality, researchers from the Chicago as well as Harvard universities laid out five key evidence-based policy recommendations. The roadmap states that the 13,200 tests were from September 2012-February this year and were digitized in collaboration with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

In its recommendations, the report cited Maharashtra’s star-rating programme and stated that such measures are essential to provide information about polluters to public.

“Access to results of inspections and emission records are generally restricted to regulators. However, public disclosure of this information can lead to pressure from civil society groups as well as from investors. Also, transparency initiatives encourage regulators to improve the reliability of data,” the report stated.

Currently, hundreds of large industrial plants across the state are being rated under this programme based on the emissions of particulate matter.

The roadmap further recommends that the pollution control board should make the polluting industries compensate for the environmental damage they cause. “Though the board cannot levy penalties, it can ensure imposing monetary charges from polluting industries for excess emissions,” it added.

MPCB’s joint director for air pollution control Vidyadhar Motghare, who participated in the national conference, stated that the star-rating programme was changing the state’s fight against air pollution. “As the data is now transparent, people’s participation in the state is also increasing,” he said.

The other recommendations include improving the monitoring of industrial emissions by aligning incentives of auditors, provision of real-time data on emissions, providing the public with information about polluters and using markets to reduce abatement costs and pollution.