The Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) has launched a website that publicly discloses pollution data in simplified manner for industries across the state. This data disclosure and transparency platform is part of the pioneering Jharkhand Star Rating program that categorizes industries from one star to five stars based on their PM emissions. Industries that are most polluting get one star and five stars are awarded to those who are least polluting as per the regulators’ pollution standards.
The website www.jspcb.info as launched in an event organized on October 20, 2022, in Ranchi, which saw the participation of senior officials from the Jharkhand Government, industry representatives, and researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, among others.
The program, which was earlier voluntary for industries and later made mandatory, was rolled out in 2019 in partnership with the University of Chicago Trust (UC Trust). The UC Trust, through the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India), supported JSPCB over the last three years in rolling out this one of its kind transparency initiative aimed at improving the air quality in Jharkhand.
Launching the website, Shri Shashikar Samanta, Chairman, JSPCB, said, “We are committed to improving the air quality in the state and serving our citizens better. The Star Rating program, in partnership with EPIC India, is a step in that direction. The website will ensure that citizens can find out the PM emissions of the industries in their neighborhood. This information can empower citizens and policymakers alike to ensure that industries comply with existing Indian pollution standards.”
Member Secretary, JSPCB, Shri Y.K. Das also shared his thoughts saying, “This new website is a giant step that advances the JSPCB’s efforts to combat air pollution while also engaging industries, citizens, policymakers, and journalists. We hope the industry will continue to stay excited to benefit from this Program and adapt to better pollution abatement technologies while learning from their peers.”
Talking about the multi-year collaboration that has resulted in the design and delivery of this program, Sidhartha Vermani, Executive Director, EPIC India, said, “Public disclosure of emission data in the form of star-rating can help unlock public demand for clean air and motivate the industries to undertake pollution abatement measures. We are excited to partner with the JSPCB to advance an initiative that can help citizens of Jharkhand live in a clean and healthy environment”.
Apart from enabling information transparency and giving the public access to pollution ratings, the star rating program will also facilitate regular interaction between industries and the regulator. The program will also facilitate tracking of industrial pollution that can accelerate pollution abatement technology adaptation.
The program utilizes continuously monitored emissions data from major industrial plants to rank the industries. Besides informing the public and industries through the website, the Star Rating program, which has the participation of more than 100 industries, will encourage healthy competition among industries for better regulatory compliance to reduce emissions.
Over the last few years, JSPCB has taken several progressive steps to improve industrial emissions’ monitoring and regulatory framework. This includes installing continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) in industrial plants and going online with the process for consent to operate and establish, among many others. In line with international best practices, JSPCB has made real-time emission data available on its website, forming this program’s bedrock.
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