Bhubaneswar, September 17, 2018: To clean up the air, the Odisha Government on Monday launched a Star Rating system for industries. This first-of-its-kind transparency initiative in the state will categorize industries from l-star to 5-stars, with l-star being the least compliant and 5-stars being the most compliant to the pollution standards set by the regulator.
Along with informing residents and industries, the programme aims to strengthen the Odisha State Pollution Control Board’s (SPCB) regulatory efforts to reduce pollution.
The programme is based on the particulate matter (PM) emissions of large manufacturers of steel, cement, aluminium and major power plants and will be implemented with the help of researchers from EPIC-India and TCD in a phased manner. It will cover 20 industrial plants initially, and will eventually cover all 136 plants with continuously monitored data.
SPCB is conducting inspection and recalibration drives to check the quality of data and would be updating the ratings every month.
Dr A K Swar, Chief Environmental Engineer, SPCB has been nominated as the Nodal Officer of the programme.
“We are committed towards serving our citizens better and I am very optimistic about this programme that aims to cut pollution. The Star Rating programme will help the public to find out whether industries in their vicinity are fair in their environmental compliance and empower them to strengthen regulations through public participation,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while launching the programme by unveiling a new website (www.ospcb.info) where citizens can access the information.
Also, the Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of State Pollution Control Boar quoting this initiative as an excellent example of 3 Ts- Technology, Transparency and Teamwork.
“SPCB has been collecting data through a Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) on industrial air pollution emissions. It has been an exciting journey working with researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) in distilling this data into star ratings and using it for public disclosure,” said Development Commissioner and SPCB Chairman R Balakrishnan.
The Odisha Star Rating programme is a pioneering initiative that will help citizens identify the sources of pollution in their neighbourhoods and cities and empower them to help ensure that industries comply with existing Indian laws, said Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of EPICand the Tata Centre for Development at Chicago (TCD).
“By incorporating real-time information on emissions, this programme marks the Odisha Government as a global leader in pollution regulation. Further, this type of partnership between governments and university researchers is at the vanguard of environmental enforcement by marrying frontier research on what works with the political realities of what is feasible, added Greenstone.
While the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board worked with researchers from EPIC-India and others to launch a similar programme last year, the Odisha initiative is the first in India to utilise continuously monitored emissions data captured in real time from major industrial plants.
Forests and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray, Industries Minister Anant Das and Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi attended the programme.