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Introduce online monitoring of highly polluting industries: Central board

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed the state Pollution Board to install online quality monitoring systems within 90 days. The aim behind this is to ensure effective compliance and strengthening of monitoring mechanism of 17 categories of highly polluting industries.

These 17 categories include cement, paper and pulp, basic drugs and pharmaceuticals, dyes, fertilisers, pesticides formulation, integrated iron and steel etc.

Common effluent treatment plants, common hazardous waste and biomedical waste incinerators will be required to follow these directions as per the CPCB orders passed on February 5.

Since the management of industrial units had been dithering over complying with laid environmental standards in the past, the central board has now demanded a bank guarantee of 25 per cent of the cost of online monitoring systems for ensuring timely installation of such systems.

A report on the greenhouse gas emissions at source released by the Department of Environment has pointed out that cement plants produced 5,170.30 gigagrams of carbon dioxide which was over half of the state’s carbon dioxide.

The energy usage by other categories, including industrial, commercial and institutional, added 3,183.27 gigagrams to the greenhouse gas emissions, thus necessitating the need to introduce stringent regulatory measures.

It, however, remains to be seen how the online monitoring of pollution would check air and water pollution as not much has been achieved in checking pollution.

The state board will also install the necessary software and hardware in their headquarters for centralised data collection, analysis and corrective action to ensure the regular monitoring of such units and submit an action taken report along with a time-bound action plan for each industry within 120 days.

With the focus on installing continuous effluent and emission monitoring devices, all such erring industrial units which operate their pollution mitigation devices only for few hours will be checked.

The board officials had a tough time in checking such erring units due to the scant field staff and presence of hundreds of such units.

The CPCB has introduced self-monitoring and compliance as this would not only discipline the industries, but also ensure that they transmit the data on their own, both to the state and the central board.

As per these directions, a copy of which was available with The Tribune, these industries have been directed to install online effluent quality monitoring system at the outlet of effluent treatment plants.

The Tribune (18-02-2014)