Sugar and distillery most polluting industries in state, reveals data

Source: The Times Of India | Posted on 25 August 2018

Sugar and distillery most polluting industries in state, reveals data

Sugar and distillery is the most polluting industrial sector in the state, reveals the latest data of Maharashtra’s star-rating programme which is jointly run by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and few other institutes.

The programme, which is the first-of-its-kind in the country, was launched in the state in June last year. It is monitoring industrial air pollution of ten clusters including Mumbai, Pune, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and pockets of Gadchiroli. The programme gives star-ratings to the industries based on the median concentration of their latest stack samples for particulate matter which is a widespread air pollutant which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and also lead to mortality.

Maharashtra, which according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) reports is touted to be the country’s most polluted state after Uttar Pradesh, has around 100 industries which are emitting highly toxic pollutants, the latest statistics say.

Of the 253 industries monitored in the state’s 29 districts, 52 have got one-star rating, implying that the particulate matter emissions from their stack is 250 milligrams per normal metric cube (mg/NM3) or more. The highest number of such hazardous industries are in Thane, which include six from chemical sector and one from paper and metal works each.

Apart from this, 45 industries in the state have been rated two-stars. These units emit particulate matter between 150-250 mg/NM3. Most of these industries are situated in Aurangabad, Raigad and Satara.

In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), almost half of the monitored industries are highly polluting. Statistics reveal that out of 55, 19 industries in MMR have got one-star rating while 8 got two-star. Of the 21 industries in Pune, six are identified as the worst polluting.

Out of 62 monitored sugar and distillery industries across the state, 29 are found to be highly polluting. The next worst polluting sector is the chemical in which 24 industries out of 65 have got one and two-star rating.

Around 72 industries in the state are pumping out particulate matter less than 50 mg/NM3 and have bagged five-star rating. With 14, Kolhapur has the highest number of such industries.

On Friday, TOI reported that none of the 17 most polluted cities in the state have a mitigation plan in place. The Central Pollution Control Board has identified industrial pollution as one of the major sources of air pollution in these cities which are consistently violating air pollution standards.

“Though at a development stage, the data shows that industries are the biggest violators of environmental norms. Being the most industrialized state, Maharashtra needs to formulate action plans which go beyond urban areas and take into account tackling pollution from industrial sources,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India.