Online leash on polluting industries

60,000 units will file environmental statement on Internet  

 
By Rajil Menon
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

INDUSTRIAL units in Maharashtra will henceforth have to file details of their emissions and effluent discharge online.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Bo - ard (MPCB) has set up a special online portal called Maha Eco Bharat for easy submission of annual environmental statement by industrial units. Till now this declaration was furnished on paper.

Barely 2.5 per cent companies filed the annual statement regarding water, fuel and raw material consumption and wa - ste generation though it is mandatory. Companies are reluctant to file the information because they have to hire consultants who charged Rs 3,000 to prepare the statements and get them delivered. Only 1,500 units out of the 60,000 spread over 12 industrial regions of the state filed annual declaration.

“With the launch of the online facility, the data collection and its updating has become quick,” said a board official. MPCB has hired a consultant, Ecofriend and Company, to manage the online database. Each industry is provided with a username and password on paying a one-time fee of Rs 125 to the consultant. The statement can be filed online from any part of the state.

The scheme is expected to create a database on heavily polluted industrial clusters in the state. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had put restrictions on environmental clearances for development projects in eight areas of Maharashtra which are critically or severely polluted.

It is not clear how online data collection will curb pollution. “We cannot cross-verify each data submitted by industrial units. The data has to be submitted with an affidavit, hence companies cannot lie. We randomly check a few forms,” said a senior MPCB official.

In the past Ecofriend and Company has audited over 150 industrial units in Maharashtra and has prepared an inventory of the hazardous waste they generate. Prakash Deshpande, second engineer with the company, said industrial units that do not file their environmental statement would find it hard to renew their permits. “Industrial units can no more cheat MPCB. Cross-verification of data is easy in an online portal,” he said. The last date for submitting online declaration is September 30.

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