The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on Monday announced an Online Effluent and Emission Monitoring System under which highly polluting industries will be monitored 24x7.

The earlier method of physical sampling and lab testing was found to be inadequate as it could not capture pollution levels all 24 hours. With online monitoring, the situation has completely changed and monitoring can be done continuously. The industries now are taking steps to install new equipment to meet environmental norms. “We shall also bring about necessary changes in law to enable use of online data as legal evidence,” Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar said.

The Minister said by March 31, 2,280 highly polluting industries, which constitute about 80 per cent of the functioning industries under this category, will install the devices. “If any parameters exceed the prescribed limit for more than 15 minutes, SMS alerts would be sent to officials of the local law enforcement agencies, as well as central agencies,” Javadekar said.

The Ministry said 321 industries have been closed following their failure to install monitoring devices and they will be allowed to reopen only after they adhere to the norms. Closure orders have also been issued to 141 industries, and another 403 are likely to receive closure orders soon.

“The monitoring systems cover emission parameters like particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon mono-oxide, ammonia, and some others and effluent parameters like flow, pH, bio-chemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solid, ammonical nitrogen and others,” a statement from the Ministry said.