Continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) and continuous effluent quality monitoring system (CEQMS) are real-time air and water pollution monitoring systems respectively. Continuous ambient air quality monitoring system (CAAQMS) is used for monitoring ambient air quality on real- time basis. 

A continuous monitoring system is comprised of sampling, conditioning, and analytical components and software designed to provide direct, real- time, continuous measurements of pollution by analyzing representative sample(s) of air and water to be monitored. It is an important tool for better compliance enforcement through credible pollution monitoring and reporting practices. If installed properly, these systems can help to get accurate and real- time data at higher frequency with minimal manual intervention in order to strengthen the pollution control regime. 

The continuous monitoring system, as a new age technology, not only provides credible and accurate pollution measurement to the operator, but also enables to take mitigation measures on time and helps in process optimization by providing real-time data. Industrialised nations such as the US, the UK, the Germany etc. have successfully adopted, experienced and benefitted from this technology since more than three decades. 

India, in 2014, initiated installation of CEMS and CEQMS in 17 categories of highly polluting industries and common pollution treatment facilities. In addition, grossly polluting industries (GPIs) located in the Ganga basin are also required to install CEQMS for monitoring and reporting of effluent quality on real-time basis. The central pollution control board (CPCB) had issued the directions to state pollution control boards (SPCBs) and pollution control committees (PCCs) to mandate the installation of CEMS and CEQMS is industries.   CAAQMS is installed both by the government as well as industries to monitor ambient air quality in the respective regions 

Since these technologies are complex and expensive, implementation challenges and associated risks are high. Proper implementation is not limited to the issue of correct technology selection but also installation, operation, maintenance and data acquisition and handling. Therefore, proper knowledge and skill development for CEMS, CEQMS and CAAQMS is crucial for all stakeholder groups. 

What is CSE doing?
CSE strongly believes that continuous monitoring systems are essential for better compliance enforcement. If implemented properly, it can catapult India’s environmental governance into 21st century. CSE is working closely with CPCB, SPCBs, industries and various experts from India and overseas to help successful implementation of continuous monitoring systems in India. CSE is actively involved in providing technical guidance, policy advocacy and capacity building of regulators and industries.

arious experts from India and overseas to help successful implementation of continuous monitoring systems in India. CSE is actively involved in providing technical guidance, policy advocacy and capacity building of regulators and industries.


  • Asia Africa workshop on SMART and affordable monitoring
  • CSE organised an international conclave for regulators from Global South on SMART and affordable environment monitoring. The forum involved participants from African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenia, Tanzania, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan apart from experts from USEPA, UNEP, California Water Boards and India’s CPCB and SPCBs. Various technology providers also participated in the event. The event deliberated on various aspects of affordable monitors for community monitoring, personal pollution monitoring, CEMS and CEQMS. 
  • CEMS – A Technical Guidance Manual (http://csestore.cse.org.in/books/industry-and-environment/cems.html):
  • CSE released a technical guidance manual on CEMS at CEM India event in September 2017. This is the first and only detailed technical guidance document on CEMS published in India. The document includes information of various available technologies, their suitability, operation & maintenance and reporting. It also explains the regulations and best practices from the US, the Europe and those proposed by the CPCB in India
  • Guidelines for Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems- August 2017 ( ):
  • The CPCB published the draft guidelines for implementation of CEMS. The  guidelines discussed about various available technologies, merits and limitation, selection matrix, and brief information of installation, operation and maintenance and data reporting.
  • CSE’s Survey of CEMS Implementation in India https://www.cseindia.org/survey-cems-implementation-india-6602
  • To identify and learn the problems faced by stakeholders at different stages of implementing CEMS and CEQMS like- selection, installation, operation & maintenance, data transmission, inspection and compliance check, a survey of different industries in two states - Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh was carried out by CSE in collaboration with respective SPCBs. The survey was carried out during the months of June and August 2016.
  • A draft notification for real-time monitoring of emissions and effluents discharge- April 2015
  •  MoEF&CC, in order to provide the legal sanctity to the installation of CEMS and CEQMS and use of continuous monitoring data for compliance check, issued a draft notification which carried various provisions for installation, calibration, data collection, data transfer, and compliance for CEMS installation in industries. The draft was much debated among the stakeholder groups due to its shortcomings. No action was taken on this draft notification.
  • CPCB’s direction to Ganga basin SPCB/PCCs for instructing industries to install CEMS - February 2014:
    Under this direction, CPCB directed the SPCBs/PCCs to instruct the industries located in the Ganga basin to install CEQMS for real-time monitoring of effluent quality. In November, 2014, a guideline document was also published help stakeholder for installation and operation of CEQMS in industries. The initiative is seen closely aligned with the Clean Ganga mission.
  • CPCB's directions to mandate installation of CEMS - February, 2014 (http://cpcb.nic.in/displaypdf.php?id=Q1BBL0JfRGlyLnBkZg):
  • The direction makes installation of real-time monitoring of air emission and/or effluent quality mandatory for 17 categories of highly polluting industries and other common pollution control facilities such as common effluent treatment plants, Common bio-medical treatment facilities, Common hazardous waste treatment facilities, Municipal solid waste treatment facilities and other industries as directed by the CPCB, SPCBs/PCCs.The deadline for implementation was initially kept as 31st March 2015 which was extended couple of times until the final deadline of 30th June 2016.