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| Last Updated:09/12/2019

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Industries in Hyderabad downplaying emissions by manipulating data

HYDERABAD: The AP pollution control board has sent notices to four manufacturers of pollution monitoring equipment for colluding with industries in downplaying emissions.

The PCB had introduced the online live monitoring system to make 
industrial air qualitymonitoring transparent, but it has now come to light that monitoring systems supplied by third-parties and installed at industries are under-reporting the pollution data.

The officials cornered the suppliers during checks conducted last month. "Four third-party monitoring service providers were warned about their nexus with the industries. These parties were found to be calibrating the equipment to suit the needs of the industries," a PCB official said.

Until a few years ago, the PCB used to monitor air quality at the industries besides asking the industries to monitor on their end as well. However, the double monitoring often resulted in conflicting figures.

It was then that the PCB decided to get third-party service providers to supply equipment to record emissions. The online monitoring system would record the data and post it on the website. PCB officials from regional offices would also visit the industries in their area every month to verify the figures.

A pollution audit expert who works as a consultant for industries in the city said on condition of anonymity that the data collection is often skewed.

"At many places, the air pollution data is downplayed and the PCB is aware of it. Officials often suggest industries to approach a particular monitoring service provider and avoid others," the expert alleged.

Meanwhile, environmental activists said that the new system is little use unless the PCB takes punitive action against the erring parties and not let them off with notices and warnings.

"By involving a third party to provide recording equipment, there is ample scope for manipulation. Often the reportage is such that the figures exactly fit the PCB standards," said S Jeevanand Reddy, an environmental activist who was with the PCB task force a few years ago.

The Times of India (01-12-2013)