As many as 1,496 companies in Aurangabad district have come under scanner of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for emitting high level of pollutants, an official said.
The MIDC has issued a circular saying these companies will have to bring down their emissions to the prescribed levels if they wish to expand their businesses, he said.
As per the list of 100 highly polluted areas (2017-18) in the country, Aurangabad falls in the severely polluted category with a Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) score of 69.85.
As many as 1,496 companies in the district, located in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, fall under red and orange categories of the pollution index, with scores of more than 60 and 41 respectively, according to the MIDC circular.
The notification from MIDC CEOs office on January 2 states that expansion of companies which are already in red and orange categories have come under the scanner. These firms need to follow the norms strictly and bring down their pollution levels to prescribed limits if they want to expand their industry, MIDC executive engineer Bhushan Harshe said.
The Central Pollution Control Board has identified 100 most polluted areas across the country and classified them in different categories based on their CEPI score.
Based on this data, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued guidelines to states to curb pollution in these areas.
A total of 4,765 companies in Aurangabad are being monitored by the pollution department. Of these, 867 are in the red category and 629 in orange category (total 1,496), an official in the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said.
Besides, 3,234 companies fall in the green category (having CEPI score of 21 to 40), and 35 are under the white category (with CEPI score upto 20). Companies under green and white categories are practically non-polluting.
Meanwhile, Marathwada Environmental Care Cluster (MECC) founder president and local industrialist B.S. Khose questioned the method of sampling of this report.
Companies that are discharging untreated or treated effluents not in prescribed format should be identified and penalised. The other companies which are manufacturing same products but not polluting the environment, should not be held responsible for the pollution, he said.
MECC is an independent body formed by various industries in the region to tackle pollution issues.
Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture (CMIA) vice president Kamlesh Dhoot said, We have got support and guidelines from government agencies to tackle this problem and companies in Aurangabad are working to address the issue.
According to the MIDC circular, out of 100 polluted areas in the country, nine are in Maharashtra.
These areTarapur (with CEPI score of 93.69), Chandrapur (76.41), Aurangabad (69.85), Dombivali (in Thane district-69.67), Nashik (69.49), Navi Mumbai (66.32), Chembur (in Mumbai-54.67), Pimpri-Chinchwad (in Pune-52.15) and Mahad (in Raigad-47.12).