Government of Punjab, J-PAL South Asia, and EPIC India Launch an Emissions Trading Scheme to Reduce Industrial Air Pollution in the State

Government of Punjab, J-PAL South Asia, and EPIC India Launch an Emissions Trading Scheme to Reduce Industrial Air Pollution in the State

Ludhiana in Punjab becomes the second Indian city to roll out the groundbreaking emission trading scheme for particulate pollution.

The Government of Punjab’s Department of Industry & Commerce and the Department of Science, Technology & Environment is partnering with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) to launch the use of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to tackle growing industrial air pollution in Punjab.

To reduce particulate and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state, the Government of Punjab and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) will launch an ETS to regulate emissions from 200 dyeing industries in Ludhiana as the first step in this partnership. 

ETS offers a market-based approach to reduce air pollution in which governments set a cap on emission levels and distribute emissions permits among firms. The approach uses continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) to send real-time and continuous readings of particulate emissions and enable better and more targeted regulatory oversight standards. 



Researchers from EPIC and JPAL South Asia and their academic partners helped the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board introduce an ETS in 350 highly polluting industries in Surat in August 2019 and established a monitoring system for particulate emissions trading to regulate industrial pollution in the area.


A randomized evaluation of the pilot found evidence that the scheme offers a mechanism for improving air quality that is transparent and predictable. Moreover, it also has the potential to transform the trade-off between environmental regulation and economic growth by lowering compliance costs for firms. The Government of Punjab will work with J-PAL South Asia and EPIC India to design and establish pollution markets in Punjab. The partnership includes providing technical assistance and capacity building to public officials to effectively use data and research evidence from Surat’s established and functioning emissions trading market. 

Talking about the partnership, Shri Alok Shekhar, IAS Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce, said, “The Government of Punjab is keen to combat environmental pollution through regulation that promises a win-win situation of cleaner production, coupled with lower compliance costs for industries. ETS is one such initiative that can help regulate critically and severely polluted industrial belts in Punjab.” 

Of the partnership, Prof Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, Director of EPIC and Co-Chair of Energy, Environment, and Climate Change of J-PAL added, “Pollution reductions can be delivered – the world’s first ETS for particulate pollution in Gujarat has already shown this. Punjab is now becoming the second Indian state to adopt this pioneering vision. For various other Indian cities battling polluted air and expensive regulations, ETS has the potential to improve air quality and health, reduce the regulatory burden on industries, and decrease government enforcement expenditures.”

Prof Michael Greenstone and Dr. Anant Sudarshan from the University of Chicago and their academic partners will work closely with the Government of Punjab in implementing the ETS program in Ludhiana.


Press Inquiries

Ashirbad S Raha
ashirbad@uchicago.edu

“No Vaccine Against Air Pollution” Expert Chat on Twitter

“No Vaccine Against Air Pollution” Expert Chat on Twitter, this Environment Day

This World Environment Day, 5th June 2021, we are hosting an Expert Chat on Twitter about air pollution management in India, implementation and effectiveness of the National Clean Air Programme and air quality impacts.

Air quality researchers, scientists, doctors and experts have been invited to join in and share their opinions.

To follow the conversation and join in, use the hashtag #PollutionPandemic on our Twitter channel @NCAPTracker.

Study: National Clean Air Programme missed 139 polluted cities as it used old data

Study: National Clean Air Programme missed 139 polluted cities as it used old data

The latest report by Greenpeace India says there are 139 cities where air pollution levels exceed national standards, which  were not included in India’s recently released National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The report titled Airpocalypse III states that even if we assume that air pollution across India can be reduced by 30% by 2024, 153 cities will be left with pollution levels exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The study analyses air pollution data of 313 cities and towns for the year 2017. Of these, 241 (77%) had PM10 levels beyond the NAAQS. “Thus, all these 241 cities belong on the list of ‘non-attainment’ cities that are required to take action under the NCAP. This is a sharp increase of 139 cities, more than twice as many as the 102 cities included on the list. The omission is due to the fact that the list of non-attainment cities in the NCAP was drawn together using data from the years 2011-2015.”

Bangkok residents coughing blood due to smog

Bangkok joined ranks with Delhi and became one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. Covered in toxic smog, Thailand was forced to shut nearly 450 schools in Bangkok after air pollution in the city crossed the “unhealthy” level of 171. Pollution has been so bad that people have shared images on social media of citizens  “sneezing blood”.

Much like New Delhi, the Bangkok smog is attributed to traffic emissions, construction work, burning of crop stubble, and pollution from factories getting trapped in the city.

Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, UN Environment Regional Coordinator for Chemicals, Waste, and Air Quality, said: “It is literally vital that the government takes decisive action to enforce pollution regulations. They are on the right track with efforts announced yesterday [on Wednesday], such as strict emissions enforcement, and they are looking at more urgent measures,” she said. “But while solutions like cloud seeding may provide temporary relief for larger particulates, it does not help reduce PM2.5.”

Burning tyres dumped as waste by Britain are choking India, says journalist

Influential writer and journalist George Monibot has highlighted Britain’s dirty secret of waste dumping and burning tyres, which is choking India. He pointed out that every month, “thousands of tonnes of used tyres leave our ports on a passage to India. There they are baked in pyrolysis plants, to make a dirty industrial fuel.

While some of these plants meet Indian regulations, hundreds – perhaps thousands – are pouring toxins into the air, as officials look the other way. When tyre pyrolysis is done badly, it can produce a hideous mix: heavy metals, benzene, dioxins, furans and other persistent organic chemicals, some of which are highly carcinogenic.”

The writer says there is no data on the tyre pyrolysis plant. Nor do we know whether British tyres are being burned in plants that are illegal. “It seems prepared to break its own rules on behalf of the companies exporting our waste. And this is before Brexit.”

Class divide: Study says Europe’s poorest worst hit by air pollution

According to latest research, the underprivileged and the unemployed in Europe’s poorest regions are hardest hit by the air pollution crisis. Nearly half of London’s poorest neighbourhoods exceeded EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits in 2017 compared with 2% of its wealthiest areas.

Data-mining analysis from the European Environment Agency (EEA) released similar findings in France, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Wales and Wallonia. Data revealed that across Europe, over half a million people die prematurely per year from exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (03) and NO2, “but the extent to which the numbers are skewed by class has been under-researched.”

National Clean Air Programme leaves out 231 cities with toxic air: Study

National Clean Air Programme leaves out 231 cities with toxic air: Study

The massive hike in the clear air plan budget may come as a relief, but the latest report on  National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) says it leaves out at least 231 cities with air as polluted as the 102 cities notified under the plan. The Greenpeace study profiled 287 cities, with over 52 days of data from 745 air pollution monitoring stations. In over 80% cases, PM (Particulate Matter) exceeded 60 microgram per cubic metre (μg/m3) prescribed under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The report concluded that all these cities belong to the non-attainment list, but have not been added. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), too, had asked the CPCB to expand its list of such cities last year.

“Polluting activities continue”: Green court slams Malegaon administration

India’s green court, The National Green Tribunal (NGT), said the Malegaon administration has failed to shut down polluting industries and sought a status report on the issue. NGT ordered the commissioner of Malegaon Municipal Corporation, District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police, the member secretary of State pollution control board, and the managing director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd to appear in person on February 24. According to a panel report, plastic pipe manufacturing industries continue to burn plastic pellets in residential areas: 185 of 190 units having facilities for plastic-related activities and 70 out of 125 sizing units are located in residential areas.

Top 2 most polluted cities from Jharkhand, 6 of the top 10 most polluted cities from UP

According to Greenpeace report Jharia, the coal-belching city of the state of Jharkhand was the most polluted city in India, followed by the city of Dhanbad in the same state. The report based on analysis of PM10 data from 287 cities across the country. Six of the top-10 polluted cities are in Uttar Pradesh including the cities of Noida, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad. Delhi’s air has improved slightly as the city moved to 10th position, from last year’s position of 8th most polluted city of the country. 

How serious should a penalty be on coal plants that missed Dec 2019 deadline?

Indian regulators are assessing how severely they should punish the operators of coal plants that have missed the December 2019 deadline to retrofit their plants with equipment to reduce emissions. Authorities had granted some plants December 2019 deadline, while for some others the deadline was extended to 2022. Most of the coal plants missed the deadline. Around New Delhi, only one out of the 11 plants had installed equipment to cut suffer oxide emissions, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) said.