In June this year, the Jharkhand government will start its “Star Rating Program,” which will be mandatory for several industries, to reduce pollution through increased transparency. The programme, currently being run on a pilot basis, will gather emission data from various industries in the state and rate the firms according to their compliance.

Starting June 5, the rating programme will focus on particulate matter (PM) emissions out of 17 categories of “highly polluting” industries and every year a new emission parameter will be added. In a phased manner all pollutants will be covered under the star rating programme.

“For the last one-and-half year we have worked on data quantity. It required several meetings — both sectoral and one-on-one — with a lot of stakeholders such as the industries, the service providers etc. Through the Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS), we have emission data on our servers every 15 minutes now. After making sense of this data we will give ratings,” said Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) Chairman A K Rastogi.

More importantly, “the star rating program will empower the public by increasing awareness on the compliance levels of industries in their vicinity and thus, it hopes to engage people in the regulatory process,” said Rastogi. “For example, people will now know which industry is the polluter in their area and this will become part of their discourse…Bigger companies will have a lot a stake in it”.

A five-star rating will be given to companies that have 50 per cent of the maximum allowed PM emissions. A one-star rating will be for companies whose emissions are 25 per cent more than the prescribed limit.

In Jharkhand, the sectors that belong to the highly polluting categories of industries include Captive Power Plants, Integrated Power Plants, Integrated Steel, Sponge Iron, Cement, Copper Smelter etc.

The initiative was taken after the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) collaborated with the University of Chicago Trust (UC Trust) as knowledge partners…