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To clean up the air, the Odisha Government today launched a Star Rating system for industries. This first-of-its-kind transparency initiative in the state will categorize 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 regulator. Along with informing residents and industries, the program aims to strengthen the Odisha State Pollution Control Board’s (SPCB Odisha) regulatory efforts to reduce pollution.

“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 Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik while launching the program by unveiling a new website (www.ospcb.info) where citizens can access the information. Also, Hon’ble Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of State Pollution Control Board, Odisha quoting this initiative as an excellent example of 3Ts- Technology, Transparency and Teamwork.

“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,” said Shri R. Balakrishnan, IAS, Chairman, SPCB.

“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). “By incorporating real-time information on emissions, this program marks the Odisha Government as a global leader in pollution regulation. Further, this type of partnership between governments and university researchers is at the vanguard of environmental enforcement by marrying frontier research on what works with the political realities of what is feasible.”

While the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board worked with researchers from EPIC-India and others to launch a similar program last year, the Odisha initiative is the first in India to utilize continuously monitored emissions data captured in real time from major industrial plants.

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 researchers from EPIC India and TCD in a phased manner. It will cover 20 industrial plants initially, and will eventually cover all 136 plants with continuously monitored data. SPCB Odisha is conducting inspection and recalibration drives to check the quality of data and would be updating the ratings every month.

Follow the twitter conversations at #odishastarrating