Naveen launches Star Rating program for Industries to cut pollution

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Bhubaneswar: In a bid to cut pollution in the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today launched a Star Rating system for industries— a first-of-its-kind transparency initiative which will categorise industries from 1-star to 5-stars compliant to the pollution standards, at the state Secretariat here.

The initiative aims to 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 Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OPSCB).

“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 the Chief Minister while launching the program by unveiling a new website (www.ospcb.info) where citizens can access the information.

Patnaik also appreciated the efforts of OPSCB quoting this initiative as “an excellent example of 3Ts- Technology, Transparency and Teamwork”.

Speaking on the occasion, OSPCB Chairman R. Balakrishnan said, “SPCB Odisha 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.”

He further said that the Odisha Star Rating program 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.

While the Maharashtra Pollution Conrtroal Board worked with reseacrgher s form EPIC-Inida and other to lasunch a similar programme last year, the Odisha governmet’ sinitiave is the first in India to utilize continuosly monitored emission data captured in time from major industrial plants.

“The Odisha Star Rating program 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 EPIC and the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD).

The Star Rating Program is based on the particulate matter (PM) emissions of large manufacturers of steel, cement, aluminium and major power plants. The program will be implemented with the help of EPIC India researchers and TCD in a phased manner.

The program will cover 20 industrial plants initially and will eventually cover all the 136 plants with continuously monitored data. OSPCB is also conducting inspection and recalibration drives to check the quality of data and would be updating the ratings every month.

Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Routray, Industries Minister Anant Das, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Development Commissioner-cum-Chairman R Balakrishnan, ACS forest an Environment Suresh Mahapatra, Energy secretary, Hemant Sharma, Industry secretary Sanjeev Chopra, senior officials of OPSCB, delegates from University of Chicago (EPIC India) and representatives from 20 industries were present in the launch event.

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