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CPCB extends deadline for installation of online pollution tracking devices in Delhi-NCR

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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pushed back its deadline for red-category air polluting industries in Delhi-NCR districts to instal online pollution tracking devices to June 30, almost two months after the original March 31 deadline.

In a letter issued to state pollution control boards of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the national pollution watchdog stated that it had extended the deadline after the industries association said that it had been issued directions on the issue only in March.

If the industries fail to comply with these directions, CPCB will take action against under non-compliant industries under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It has also sought action-taken reports from state boards. Senior CPCB officials did not respond to calls or messages.

Red-category industries are the most polluting ones, categorised so on the basis of their emissions gauged over a period of time.

These industries discharge pollutants directly or indirectly into ambient air, posing a constant threat to human health and air quality.

Delhi has faced a crisis of toxic air quality over the past three years and industries surrounding Delhi, such as thermal power plants, have been one of the big pollution contributors.

Last year, state pollution control boards were asked to constitute a committee headed by the member secretary and comprising two senior engineers and scientists to categorise any new or left-over industrial sector which doesn't fall under any of the four categories of red, orange, green and white, and also to resolve issues related to categorisation.

Later, in December 2017, CPCB had asked state boards of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to direct all red-category air polluting industries located in 23 districts to install online continuous stack emission monitoring systems by March 31, 2018. These monitoring devices had to be also connected to the server of CPCB and state boards.

The pollution watchdog has steadily moved towards pushing widespread installation of online monitoring devices across industries to directly access pollution levels on their servers and minimize physical inspection of industries.

CPCB and pollution control divisions in the environment ministry receive live data of noise, water and air pollution and state pollution control boards are directed to send messages to errant industries before they take action under the Environment Protection Act.

Author: Sustainability Outlook Desk