Highly polluting industries in Maharashtra will be pulled up by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) by the end of the year for not having sufficient greenery in their premises.
To reduce air pollution and increase tree plantation, the MPCB mandated that large scale industries must have 33% open areas under tree cover. Industries have been directed to plant only fruit-bearing trees such as banyan, neem, peepal and mango depending on the terrain.
Regional and sub-regional officers from the MPCB will carry out surprise checks at industries from September 30. Defaulters will be fined, though the amount is yet to be fixed.
MPCB officials told HT that 50 lakh trees will be planted across the state, with an average of 1.5 lakh trees in every district before the monsoon ends.
“We are asking industries to draft a plan and upload data for individual plantations on our server by September 30. Details such as latitude-longitude of the green cover, types, age of trees or saplings, and whether transplantation has been done, need to be stated,” said PK Mirashe, acting member secretary, MPCB.
He added that a few industries have completed their target.He said officers had formed committees, roped in NGOs and begun plantation drives. “We expect more than 5,000 highly polluting industries such as thermal power stations, mining, sugar, iron and steel, and paper to complete the project,” said Mirashe.
By March 30, 2017, the MPCB will carry out a complete audit of the plantation and submit a tree census report to the forest department.
City-based non-profit organisations were skeptical about the implementation of the project. “Though the plan looks good on paper, its execution needs to be monitored, given MPCB’s staff shortage,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, Vanashakti.