The Maharashtra Government’s Star Rating Program, a first-of-its-kind in India to rate large industrial plants based on their emission, has expanded to include 50 more industries from Mumbai. This five-star rating system gives out one star to those polluting most and five stars to those who pollute the least. Launched in June of last year, this unique transparency initiative could change how the entire country thinks about environmental regulation.
“The program has been running successfully in several areas of the state and so far both the industries and public have shown keen and active interest. Of the 50 industries invited today, 19 are one-star industries, 10 are two-star and nine are five-star industries. We are planning to expand the number of industries over a period of time,” said Dr. P. Anbalagan, Hon. Member Secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in an event that announced the expansion of the program in Mumbai.
Representatives from 50 industries were also present on the occasion where they were handed out report cards containing their respective ‘Star Rating’ by the MPCB.
The Star Rating Program is the first in the world to be designed to scientifically measure the impact of pollution from industry. This is being done by MPCB in collaboration with researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India team (EPIC-India), Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School, and Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).
“MPCB’s programme is path-breaking by providing the public with critical information and rigorously testing its impact on pollution emissions,” said Professor Michael Greenstone, one of the principal investigators on the project and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). “It is apparent that MPCB is an international leader in identifying low-cost methods to achieve a cleaner environment.”
The Star Rating Program 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.
To ensure wider citizen engagement, a series of awareness events are being carried out in some of the more polluted cities such as Nagpur, Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Nashik and Pune. The aim of these initiatives is to reach out to a larger and wider spectrum of the public and encourage them to use the Star Rating platform to create awareness about air pollution in their respective communities.
The Star Rating Program currently reflects ratings of 79 industries and is being expanded to 269 in the coming weeks.
The Energy Policy Institute gratefully acknowledges generous research support provided by the International Growth Centre (IGC), Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL), The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).