By Bhasker Tripathi
New Delhi: A unique emissions trading system being piloted in Surat, Gujarat, has achieved a 29% drop in deadly particulate pollution generated by industrial plants while cutting costs, the first evaluation of the scheme has found.
The Emissions Trading System (ETS) launched in July 2019 by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is billed as the first such scheme, not just in India but the world, for particulate pollution.
One hundred and fifty-eight plants in the industrial hub have signed up for this “cap and trade” scheme. Industrial clusters are set a limit on how much particulate pollution they can collectively emit; they can then either install equipment to cut their emissions, or purchase credits from those that do, to keep their collective emissions down. It began live trading on September 15, 2019, after two months of trials.
This cost-benefit analysis, based on survey reports from each of the 158 units, mostly textile and dye mills, was done by researchers from the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and the Economic Growth Center at Yale University (EGC-Yale), USA, two of several institutions involved in shaping the scheme.
“This first look at the programme finds that [it] is projected to both foster economic growth by reducing industries’ compliance costs and improve people’s health by reducing particulate air pollution,” Michael Greenstone, director of EPIC and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “It is bringing Indian environmental policy to the global frontier.”