Bhubaneswar: To clean the air, the Odisha Government Monday launched a Star Rating system for industries. This is the first-of-its-kind transparency initiative in the state that will categorise industries from 1-star to 5-stars, with 1-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.
“We are committed towards serving our citizens better and I am very optimistic about this program that aims to cut pollution. The Star rating program 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 program 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 Board, Odisha quoting this initiative as an excellent example of 3Ts- Technology, Transparency and Teamwork.
“OSPCB 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 R Balakrishnan, Chairman of OSPCB.
“The Odisha Star Rating program is pioneering initiatives 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 Epic and the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (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”, he said.
The star rating launch programme was attended by Minister Forest and Environment Bijayshree Routray, Minister for Industries Anant Das, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Development Commissioner cum Chairman R Balakrishnan, ACS Forest and Environment Suresh Mohapatra, Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma, Industry Secretary SPCB Debidutta Biswal, Senior officials from SPCB Odisha, delegates from University of Chicago (Epic India) and representatives from 20 industries of Odisha.
The star rating program is based on the particulate matter emissions of large manufacturers of steel, cement, aluminium and major power plants. The program 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 Odisha is conducting inspection and recaliberation drives to check the quality of data and would be updating the ratings every month. Dr AK Swar, Chief Environmental Engineer, SPCB Odisha has been nominated by the SPCB Odisha as Nodal Officer and coordinated the star rating program.