To make things easier for the industries the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has come up with a facility for online submission of environmental statement. The industries can now fill the Form V concerning environmental compliance online on the MPCB’s website. The filed data can be filtered by MPCB as per Region, Industry Type, Sub Industry Type, Industry Category and Sub Industry Category.
The environmental statement is equivalent to a brief audit report and is to be filed by industrial units to provide details of their use of water, fuel, raw material consumption, hazardous waste generation, emissions and effluent water treatment. The online initiative will help the MPCB to create a database of the polluting industries. It will facilitate easy and prompt calculation of the total emissions, hazardous waste and effluents. “The website will create a complete communication directory with consent details enabling instantaneous audit of Companies. A red flag would be generated in case of discrepancies enabling MPCB to take instant action. The website also generates quick and instantaneous reports which include graphical representation of Air, Water and Hazardous Waste to identify the critically polluted areas,” says Dinesh Sonwane of MPCB.
He further added, Graph of individual company’s environmental performance can also be retrieved by MPCB for Environmental Clearance, Consent Renewal, etc.”
Maharshtra has around 60,000 industries out of which 20,000 are in Red category (critically polluting). These industries manufacture sugar, fertilizer, chemical petrochemical, pigment, dyes, electronics etc. Out of the total majority of the industries fall in the green category.
The online portal also has a separate Form IV for the industries in Red Category producing hazardous wastes. The form is mandatory for the industries and punishable by law if not furnished.
The online portal however saw a lukewarm response from the industries. Out of the 60,000 industries in the state only 1200 industries have registered in the site and a mere 2.5% filed the online environmental statement with the MPCB. The shocking response from the industries has forced the Board to issue an order to withdraw the consents if they fail to file the returns for three consecutive years. To check the authenticity of data the companies would submit an affidavit along with the data. The limited response was perceived to be due to lack of awareness about the portal among the industries.
Environmental issues like climate change, water availability, pollution, waste generation and disposal are commanding considerable global attention. Industries, as a major user of raw materials and energy and source of pollution and waste generation, have a major role in addressing current and emerging environmental issues.