Indian State Introduces First Emissions Rating System for Factories

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By Madhur Singh

The heavily industrialized state of Maharashtra launched India’s first emissions rating system for factories in eight sectors identified as highly polluting.

Home to 75,000 factories, Maharashtra is using pollution data the government is collecting under a continuous emissions monitoring system for particulates to rate its factories’ performance on a five-star scale—one for the worst performers and five for the best. The first ratings were made public June 5.

The eight sectors under evaluation are cement, chemicals, metal works, paper, pharmaceuticals, power, sugar and distilleries, and textiles. About 12,500 factories among these sectors have been identified as high polluting.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd.'s chemicals plant at Akola in central Maharashtra is among those given a single star in its category. “We will engage with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to understand the basis of its findings,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA in an email June 5.

Independent Labs Hired

The MPCB hired independent laboratories that used stack tests to measure the gas stream from a single location within a factory to determine emissions. Maharashtra’s program so far has rated only those factories in which at least four recent stack samples have been taken.

The ratings will help plant managers improve environmental quality and sustain regulatory compliance, make it possible to share industry best practices, and bring about transparency and raise awareness among the public about industrial emissions, according to the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, which is collaborating on the program with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), MIT’s Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Yale University, and Evidence for Policy Design at Harvard University.

“The star-rating program would ensure that these industries are reliably identified and targeted for remedial action, such as more frequent monitoring or upgradation of air pollution control equipment,” the institute said in a statement. It also urged residents living near a one-star industry to contact the MPCB’s regional offices and request monitoring and cleanup actions.

“As we collect more data, we will also be able to add more industries to the program,” the email said, adding, “MPCB is also looking into expanding the star rating system to other pollutants, and incorporating the star-rating index into other MPCB programs.”

It’s not known yet if this program will be introduced in other states.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madhur Singh in Chandigarh, India, at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

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