Controlling environmental pollution by online monitoring

Category: Environment & Green Technology Published: Thursday, 20 October 2016

Prevention and control of pollution is the main objective of state and central pollution control boards. However,  in spite of various regulations and restrictions for discharge of pollutants,  there is unabated gross pollution of major rivers in India due to city sewage and industrial wastes.  The reasons for such failure in preventing pollution may be related to inadequate manpower  and machinery available with the pollution control boards in physically monitoring effluents and stack emissions from large number of industrial units.

Now Central Pollution Control Board has taken a welcome step to enforce continuous online monitoring systems for effluents and stack emissions, where the data will be transmitted directly to Central and State Pollution Control Boards without any human intervention or tampering. CPCB has laid guidelines for such compulsory monitoring systems for 17 categories of highly polluting industries such as Pulp & paper, Distillery, Sugar, Tanneries, Power plants, Cement, Oil Refineries etc. ( Ref: Guidelines for Real- time Effluent Quality Monitoring System Released by CPCB on 7-11-2014 and Specifications and guidelines for continuous emission monitoring Released by CPCB dated 22-11-2013)

For industrial effluents from high polluting industries, the guidelines envisage

•    Installation of online effluent quality monitoring system at the outlet of the identified units for the measurement of the parameters, pH, COD, BOD and other sector specific parameters and transmission of online data so generated to SPCB/PCC and CPCB as well.

•    Installation of surveillance system with industrial grade IP cameras having PAN, Tilt Zoom ( PTZ)  with leased line real time connection for data streaming and transmission of the same.

•    Ensure regular maintenance and operation of the online system with tamper proof mechanism having facilities for online calibration.

For stack emissions, Ministry of Environment and Forests has initiated an important project to design and evaluate a pilot emissions trading scheme (ETS) for particulate matter from stationary sources, in collaboration with three states – Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, with the Central Pollution Control Board as nodal agency for overall implementation of the program.

The responsibility of installing necessary hardware and software lies with individual industrial units. The instrument supplier will facilitate data transmission on behalf of industries. Industry will have to ensure at least 85 % data availability from system installed. The vendors/ instrument suppliers will have to install their server in SPCB/PCCs and CPCB for transferring data from the real time system.

Though above regulations have been made mandatory for industries in Ganga river basin, the same will be made compulsory in near future for all industries. Though the necessary software and hardware technology is not available in India, many companies from Germany, US and Japan have established their offices to provide such services. Considering "Make in India" mission, the IT industry and software companies in India should develop such gadgets and technology, as there will be great demand in near future for such products and services.

Online surveillance of effluent quality and stack emission of particulates will provide instant information about pollution to state and central pollution control boards and this will help them to take necessary steps for control of pollution. 

Thus new online monitoring and data transmission systems  developed by modern information technology can overcome present drawbacks  in  physical  monitoring  and would help in  effective control of pollution and preservation of environmental quality at a much lower cost and with high reliability.