Data revealed that Bihar has hired for only 58 of the total 264 provisioned posts, Jharkhand has filled up only 34 posts out of the total 271 in the state.

Around 50% jobs vacant in state pollution control boards: Centre to Parliament

The government has informed Parliament that pollution control boards of various states and UTs have nearly 50% of the posts lying vacant (of the total 11,103 posts 5,454 vacant), reported News18 adding that the state pollution control Boards (SPCBs) have a very important role in enforcement of provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Ashwini Kumar Choubey told Parliament that the responsibility to fill up jobs lies with the concerned State Govt./UT Administration. Data revealed that Bihar has hired for only 58 of the total 264 provisioned posts, Jharkhand has filled up only 34 posts out of the total 271 in the state. The vacancy is as high as 64% in Madhya Pradesh, and over 40% in big states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

Govt to Parliament: CPCB identifies 2,859 Grossly polluting industries 

Central Pollution Control Board has identified 2,859 grossly polluting industries (GPI) in the country, Bishweswar Tudu, minister of state for Union Ministry of Jal Shakti told the Rajya Sabha. Out of these, 2,197 industries are operational and 662 industries have closed down on their own.

Of the operational 2,197 industries, 2,059 industries are complying with the prescribed environmental standards, whereas 138 are non-complying, the minister said. 

Accordingly, show-cause notices have been issued to the 53 non-complying industries, closure directions have been issued to 66 industries and legal cases have been filed against 3 industries, Tudu added.

CPCB to Karnataka: Revise action plan for air pollution, set specific targets for industry

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has asked the Karnataka government to revise Karnataka’s Action Plan for Air Pollution, as it lacks specific targets and actionable plans, reported the Deccan Herald. The CPCB said Karnataka’s policy for permitting new industries doesn’t mention any pre-requisite to be met with regard to air pollution for getting clearances and the ambitious goal of ‘shifting to gaseous fuels’ doesn’t have a timeline. 

The news portal quoted CPCB stating that Karnataka’s plan has no clarity on the scrapping of old vehicles, fund allocation and fund utilisation plans. The action plan doesn’t provide details of financial implications for plans to manage the construction and demolition waste. The state schemes to stop the burning of stubble and other agricultural residues lack crucial details, the CPCB said. 

Most polluted winter in 3 years in Bihar and Bengal: CSE report

In a “stark reminder” of the rapid spread of pollution to cities and smaller towns winter pollution in eastern states was the highest compared to the last three winters according to analysis by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The average PM2.5 level from October 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023 across nine cities of east India with functional monitoring stations was 97 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³), according to CSE report, which was 6% higher than the average of the previous three winters. The daily peak of the season was recorded on January 1, 2023 and the daily regional average was 173 µg/m³, the data showed. 

The peak was 24% higher compared to the peak of the 2021-22 winter and 8% higher than the mean peak of the previous three winters, according to the analysis.

Bihar’s daily peak PM2.5 level this winter was 287 µg/m³ was the highest among the three states. West Bengal’s peak was 152 µg/m³ and Odisha’s 112 µg/m³. Bihar’s  Begusarai, Bettiah and Siwan recorded the worst winter air in the region, with their seasonal average exceeding 200 µg/m³, the report said adding that Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution is also high in the cities and towns of the region, with Arrah in Bihar recording a staggering 113 µg/m³ monthly average for November. 

U.S. to announce stringent mercury, air toxics standards for coal plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning tighter standards for mercury and other toxic emissions from coal plants for the first time in a decade, in a bid to clean up country’s dirtiest power plants, Reuters reported. 

The proposal would lower the emissions limit for filterable particulate matter, which includes mercury and other toxic metals, by 67%, the newswire reports adding that pants that burn lower-grade lignite coal, which had previously been subject to less stringent standards, would need to cut mercury emissions by 70%. The proposal followed a more than year-long review of the existing standard and the latest pollution reduction technologies. The agency is also expected to issue CO2 standards in the coming weeks. The agency estimates the new proposals will cost companies up to $330 million, but yield up to $1.9 billion in health benefits over a decade.

Flight once in every 6 minutes: UK is Europe’s worst private jet polluter, study finds

In a new study the UK has emerged as the most polluting private jet capital of Europe, with private planes taking off from the country once in every six minutes. The analysis by the Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft has found that the number of private jets taking off from the UK increased by 75% between 2021 and 2022 to 90,256 flights, emitting 500,000 tonnes of CO2 – more than in any other European country. Private jets are five to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times more polluting than trains. 

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