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“India’s apex pollution watchdog has finally come out with new norms to help authorities decide whether an industrial cluster is “critically polluted”. Announcing the norms, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also ordered strict air and water quality monitoring. But in the process of updating the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), the board has done away with criteria such as the potential impact on the health of people as it felt that these cannot be measured objectively, are time consuming and cost too much.

“…The pollution board claimed that several state governments, industrial associations and other entities had repeatedly requested the board to reassess the index. The order to reassess the index followed moves by both the UPA and NDA government to lift the moratorium from several critically polluted areas to facilitate industry. In September 2015, the board came out with a watered down version of the index, proposing to do away consideration of factors such as the impact on people and eco-geological features, citing the absence of reliable data.

“With CEPI 2016—released in the last week of April—the index will be calculated on the basis of factors such as the scale of industrial activity, status of ambient environment (air, surface water and groundwater) quality, health related statistics (drawn from major hospitals of the area being studied) and compliance status of industries. Experts say doing away with the criteria of “potentially affected populations in a cluster” and replacing it with health data drawn from major hospitals will not give a complete picture.” Live Mint. Read it on

Watchdog revises pollution index for industrial clusters