BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Monday launched a star rating system for industries to reduce pollution and clean up the air.The first of its kind transparency initiative in the State will categorise industries from one star to five stars, with one star being the least compliant and five 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 (OSPCB) regulatory efforts to reduce pollution.
“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 find out whether industries in their vicinity are fair in their environmental compliance and empower them to strengthen regulations through public participation,” the Chief Minister said while launching the programme by unveiling a new website (www.ospcb.info) where citizens can access the information.
The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of OSPCB and said the initiative is an excellent example of 3Ts-technology, transparency and team work.“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,” Development Commissioner and Chairman of the OSPCB R Balakrishnan said.
“The Odisha star rating programme is a pioneering initiative which will help citizens identify the sources of pollution in their neighbourhoods 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 Chicago.
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.Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray, Industries Minister Anant Das, Chief Secretary AP Padhi, several senior officials and representatives from 20 industries of Odisha were present.