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Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 26, 2013
Maharashtra is one of the most industrialised states in the country, but it also seems to be taking care of the environment.

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2012 found that Maharashtra has jumped six positions and is among the top five best-performing states in the country, based on the parameters of air pollution, water quality, forests, waste management and climate change.

In 2011, Maharashtra ranked 11 on the index formulated by the Planning Commission of India.

The report, released in the latest Current Science edition on Monday, is published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.

Apart from Maharashtra, which scored 0.7167, the top four best performing states of Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh got a cumulative EPI score of 0.7696, 0.7478, 0.7414 and 0.7334 respectively.

A cumulative EPI score is characterised by a cleaner environment, adherence to environmental standards, including implementation of the law and institutional mechanisms and conservation of natural resources.

"One would assume that industrialised states such as Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh would be quite polluted. But I was surprised to see the contrary," said Indrani Chandrasekharan, former adviser (environment and forests) of the planning commission and lead author of the report.

"Our analysis has shown that industrialised states are also making conservation efforts and have put mechanisms in place to implement environment laws," she added.

Even though Maharashtra scored well on water quality (rank three) and forest cover (rank four), it scored poorly on air pollution (rank 18), waste management (rank 17) and climate change (rank 11).

The report, however, shed light on inefficient waste management practices across the country. "The results show that the country lacks the capacity to treat hazardous waste and biomedical waste. No effort has been made by the states to collect and dispose both municipal solid waste and biomedical waste," the report read.