The Government of Maharashtra had launched India’s first Star Rating Program in June, 2017 where industries across the state are rated on a 5 star- scale based on their particulate matter emissions. This was done to make the information available with the regulator, easily accessible to the public as well as the industry in a format that is easy to understand.
Exactly after two years after its launch in 2017, a new feature called the Maharashtra City Rating program (http://mpcb.info/ambient-quality/) has been added to the Star Rating website, where users access information on the quality of the air they breathe, in addition to the polluting industries in their region. Under this feature of the website, cities will be rated on the basis of their PM10 concentration as reported through the ambient air monitoring network set up by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). This will substantiate how industrial pollution is actually affecting the ambient air quality of different regions. This new feature was launched by the Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Devendra Fadnavis on 4th June, 2019.
Ratings for each city will be available on a 5-star scale, where very poor ambient air quality will imply 1 star and good ambient air quality will imply 5 stars. Citizens of the state can now access information on polluting industries in their area as well the ambient air quality of their city on the same platform in an easily understandable manner.
The Chief Minister, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, speaking on the occasion said, “A lot of people ask me what’s the point of releasing studies or reports. But these help to call out the polluters and shame them and make them realize that their cities should also have clean air. It creates awareness and a sense of competitiveness.”
Prof. Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and director of Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) who is one of the principal investigators in this project said, “The city rating page of the Maharashtra Star Rating Program will empower the citizens of the state with critical information about the quality of air around them. Residents of Maharashtra can now not just keep an eye on polluting industrial units in the state through the star rating website, but also know the quality of air they are breathing in urban centers, all on a single platform. It’s an extremely progressive step and takes the MPCB’s transparency based program to the next level.”
The City rating page of the Star Rating website will have data for 101 monitoring stations across all major cities in Maharashtra, and this data will be updated on a daily basis. Users can view PM10 readings from various monitoring stations in their city, as well as the date on which the most recent reading was captured. They can also download the last 30 readings from each of the displayed ambient stations.
A city rating booklet was also released on the occasions which summarizes the concept of the city rating scheme and reported the performance of non-attainment cities over the last 12 months. Sangli and Pune had the highest number of 5 star rated days and Akola and Jalgaon had the highest number of 4 star rated days over the last 12 months.
The Maharashtra Star Rating Program is the first initiative in India that makes available data from approximately 20,000 industrial stack samples over multiple years. Users can log onto the MPCB website (www.mpcb.info) to access the report cards for each industry. They can then filter industry information by sector, region and star-rating. The Star Rating program currently reflects ratings of 311 industries and is working toward adding data and information of several hundreds of industries from around Maharashtra in the near future. The Maharashtra Star Rating Program is an MPCB initiative supported by researchers at the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC India), Jameel Abdul Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Jameel Abdul Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD at the Harvard University) & Tata Center for Development (TCD).