Most pollution control boards non-transparent: Centre for Science and Environment

Most air pollution management boards in India are non-transparent: Centre for Science and Environment

A majority of India`s air pollution management companies stay closed entities when it got here to sharing data with the general public with a mere handful of India`s air pollution management boards and authorities are adequately placing out environmental and governance data into the general public area, a brand new score research by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has discovered on Thursday.

For calculating the Transparency Index and score of air pollution management boards on public disclosure – because the research is titled – the CSE assessed the information disclosure efficiency of 29 state air pollution management boards (PCBs) and 6 air pollution management committees from throughout the nation. Of these, solely 17 boards and committees scored 50 per cent or above. These are from Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa, Karnataka, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“Governance and functioning-related data remains paper-bound: Information on functioning, actions taken by a board against polluting industries, public hearing data on new projects etc are rarely disclosed or remain difficult to access on the websites,” CSE mentioned in a launch right here.

“State PCBs are entrusted with several functions under the provisions of the Water Act, 1974; Air Act, 1981; Water Cess Act, 1977; and various rules and notifications issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. One of these functions under Section 17(C) of the Air and Water Acts is to collect and disseminate information related to air and water pollution and also about its prevention, control or abatement. The law asks the boards to share the data in public domain. But this is rarely done in practice,” mentioned programme director, Industrial Pollution Unit, CSE, Nivit Kumar Yadav.

Key findings of the report:

Only 12 states have shared their newest annual experiences on their web sites: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal have shared annual experiences of the yr 2019-20; Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have shared annual experiences of the yr 2018-19 (which might be termed as the most recent contemplating the COVID-19 state of affairs in 2020). No initiative has been taken by 11 SPCBs/PCCs of the next states and Union territories in sharing their annual experiences — Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, J&Okay, Jharkhand, Manipur, Andaman & Nicobar, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Puducherry and Nagaland.

The CSE research additionally discovered that the SPCB/PCCs have been protecting of industries on the subject of non-compliance: Out of 35 SPCBs/PCCs, solely 5 have shared tender copies of instructions and present trigger/closure notices issued on their web sites – these are from J&Okay, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Only 5 boards – Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Tripura and Uttarakhand – have shared minutes of their board conferences on their web sites: It is obligatory for SPCBs to satisfy a minimum of as soon as each three months. Board members in these conferences are supposed to debate points associated to the functioning of the board, motion plans, compliance and monitoring, and devising progressive strategies to enhance enforcement of legal guidelines.

Only 5 SPCBs have shared data on inspection carried out by the boards: The PCBs of Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have shared this data of their annual experiences.

Only 9 SPCBs/PCCs have offered detailed data on public hearings, which embrace the manager abstract, draft EIA report of the mission, and minutes of the assembly. The states represented are Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Goa and Mizoram, the research mentioned.

“For this study, CSE collected data from two sources — websites of SPCBs/PCCs and their annual reports. The study has evaluated the information shared by SPCBs/PCCs during the last four to five years (2016-21) and uses 25 indicators that provide a broader assessment on the type and amount of information shared. A few key indicators used in the study include the availability of information on direction/show cause/closure notices issued by boards, information on public hearings and EIA reports, non-attainment cities and polluted river stretches etc,” programme officer, Industrial Pollution Unit, CSE, and creator of the research Shreya Verma mentioned.

Limited knowledge on present air pollution ranges:

Data indicating the present air pollution ranges – air pollution, waste and many others – the fundamental indicators of setting well being, is lacking. Most boards show insufficient knowledge, indicating no developments. More so, even particulars on upcoming initiatives and grievances of most people of the locality are hardly displayed.

Only 19 SPCBs/PCCs are displaying their CEMS knowledge:

This, even after a statutory obligation to do it, as per a Supreme Court order (February 22, 2017) and an setting ministry directive (GSR 96E January 29, 2018). The states from the place these PCBs/PCCs come are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&Okay, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Of these 19, simply 5 PCBs/PCCs show historic CEMS knowledge.

Laxity in sharing data on strong waste:

Fourteen SPCBs/PCCs don’t share any data on municipal waste era; 11 on plastic waste era; 10 on hazardous waste; and 9 on e-waste.

“We also found a lack of uniformity in displaying data. For instance, all the SPCBs/PCCs surveyed have different formats for their websites, which makes accessing information quite difficult. Similarly, there is no format for annual reports, hence, the information available varies from board to board,” Verma mentioned.

Asserting that “improving transparency is a `must` when it comes to state pollution control boards,” Nivit added, “Putting in the public domain the crucial pollution-related information, data and details of actions taken is critical – it can help policy-makers take the discussions to the next level of pollution management, and it can also reassure the people about efficiency of these boards and committees. SPCBs and SPCCs, therefore, must focus urgently to become more transparent by putting out data and improving the quality of their outreach for public engagement.”

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