21 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: The latest ratings released by the Odisha Star Rating Program for the month of December has found 25 industries to be performing in accordance with the standards set by the regulatory authorities in Odisha.
Out of 107 industries belonging to the 17 categories of high-polluting sectors, only 25 industries have been rated as 5-star, six others have received 4-star and one industry has been rated as 2-star. The remaining 73 industries have been awarded 1-star.
There are 130 industries in Odisha that belong to the 17 categories of high-polluting sectors identified by the Central Pollution Control Board. 70 per cent of the integrated steel plants have received a 1-star rating in December. In the Rourkela industrial belt, 30 industries have been rated and out of them 23 are rated as 1-Star.
The Star Rating program utilizes continuously monitored emissions data from major industrial plants in Odisha, to categorize industries from 1-star to 5-star, i.e. from least environmental compliant to most environmental compliant. It is calculated every month and is published at the dedicated website www.ospcb.info.
The Star Rating Program was initiated by the State Pollution Control Board (SCPB), Odisha as a public disclosure program to maintain transparency of environmental performance and was launched in September 2018 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The ratings are calculated taking two factors into account. They are emission averaged over a period of time compared with permissible limit and data availability as prescribed by Central Pollution Control Board guidelines.
In the year 2019, Odisha Star Rating was not calculated from May to September due to Cyclone Fani affecting data availability and the ongoing data migration process. The issue was resolved and rating process resumed again from the month of October.
In October, 2019, 43 industries were rated. The number increased to 81 in November and 107 in December. Commenting on this, Mr. Debidutta Biswal, IFS, Member Secretary State Pollution Control Board says, "We are aiming at covering all the industries belonging to 17 categories of high polluting sectors under Odisha Star Rating. Making the pollution data public keeps the industries at toe to abide by environmental compliance norms and also promotes a healthy competition among them. I hope, it will have positive and far reaching impact on keeping the industrial emission under control."
SPCB, Odisha’s Star Rating program is one of the first such transparency initiatives in India. "The Odisha Star Rating Program is not just about informing the public and industries. The program also aims to encourage responsibility and healthy competition between industries in order to reduce emissions and achieve better regulatory compliance. As the programs grows, we hope to see greater engagement by local communities, civil society groups, and the media," told Dr. Keneth Lee, Executive Director, EPIC-India.
Researchers from the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) and EPIC India are working closely with SPCB, Odisha to implement this program.