The Jharkhand government has launched a website to publicly display the names of polluting industrial units in the state. The move is meant to hold the industries accountable for the amount of particulate matter they release into the atmosphere.
In a release, the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) said, “This data disclosure and transparency platform is part of the pioneering Jharkhand Star Rating programme that categorises industries from one star to five stars based on their PM emissions. Industries that are most polluting get one star, and five stars are awarded to those who are least polluting as per the regulators’ pollution standards. “
The website for the Star Rating Program, www.jspcb.info, was unveiled in Ranchi on Thursday. It has a tab that helps users “find out which industries are polluting in your state”.
JSPCB explained on the website, “The Star Rating Program is a transparency initiative that aims to disclose information on industrial Particulate Matter (PM) in an understandable manner. The initiative aims to hold industries accountable for their PM emissions, thereby incentivizing them to introduce technologies that reduce pollution.”
In simple terms, Particulate Matter or PM is a collective name for all the particles present in the air. While the larger particles like dust are noticeable, smaller particles that are released from vehicular emissions, cigarette smoke and others are not visible.
Particulate matter is usually classified on the basis of size and accordingly, it is categorised into four groups – PM10, PM2.5, PM1 and ultra-fine particulate matter.
The hazardous particles come from several sources. From fossil fuel consumption in power plants, transport sector, to biomass burning in rural areas, garbage burning, dust from construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, to dirty doormats and curtains in our home, each and everything contributes to air pollution.
The effects of varied particulate matter can be both short term – coughing, sneezing, headache, anxiety, immunity level going down and an individual ending up catching seasonal diseases on a regular basis and long term effects could lead to heart diseases, stroke, reduced lung capacity, lung cancer, respiratory diseases like asthma, and bronchitis.