We have a ‘first’ to our credit which went largely unreported. 5th June was World Environment Day and Gujarat became the first state in India and the world to start the first trading programme for particulate air pollution quotas.
It started a scheme involving 350 industrial plants in Surat and under this, the Govt puts a limit on the total amount of air particulate matter that can be emitted over a period of time by all the plants together. Once the limit is in place, permits will be issued to each plant, allowing a certain quantity of emissions.
If a plant exceeds its ‘pollution’ quota, it can buy more at a premium from other plants who are within their limits. But overall, the total amount of pollution stays within the defined cap.
And these permits can then be traded, bought and sold on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange. This trading begins on the 1st of August.
While this is a very novel and good way to bring the focus to environment, it all boils down to compliance; we have so many laws and such ‘trades’ in place but how many actually do get followed?