Govt plans ‘self-monitoring’ for industriesThe Department of Environment (DoE) plans to introduce a ‘self-monitoring’ programme for industries to make the process more effective and less time-consuming.
The Department of Environment (DoE) plans to introduce a ‘self-monitoring’ programme for industries to make the process more effective and less time-consuming.
The DoE, the government agency responsible for monitoring industries whether they abide by the standards set for the safety of public health and environment, has struggled over the years to accelerate supervision process.
DoE Director General Durga Prasad Dawadi says the department’s limited manpower is one of the factors among others for the slow process. The department has just 16 environmental inspectors.
“Our inspectors have to monitor industries throughout Nepal. We have proposed a new monitoring system that would help us to better utilise available resources. We are yet to tap technological advancement in our operation that can also assist in monitoring the industries,” said Dawadi.
To this end the department will start ‘self-monitoring’ of industries. A software
being designed for this purpose will expedite the process. Once completed, industries shall enter data related to maintaining government standard using the software themselves.
“Industries will input data related to various government standards industries have to obey to keep environment and public safe from any health hazards,” said Dawadi, adding the department was gearing up to enforce the self-monitoring plan.
The department also believes the new supervision plan will save time. It would require less on-field inspection by officials and also eliminate some other steps during the monitoring process.
The department will take penal steps against industries breaching the standards, he said. The existing Environmental Protection Act (1993) can punish anyone or industries if their acts cause pollution that may have significant adverse impacts on the environment or likely to be hazardous to public.
It takes three steps to penalise any industry. First, the department conducts field visit. Upon finding the industries’ activities not compliant with the standard, it is asked to follow the standards. If the industry or individual ignores department’s order, the perpetrator is asked to submit a statement.
Failing to do so and not abiding by the standards after all these steps, the department finally recommends to the Ministry of Population and Environment to penalise such companies or individuals who pollute the environment through their activities, said Dawadi.
“With this new plan, we can directly penalise them once they were found to harm the environment as we would be giving them the opportunity to monitor their activities themselves,” said Dawadi.
Results show the department’s sluggish inspection process because of the limited number of environmental inspectors.
Since January 2015, the department penalised only 28 industries for polluting the environment through various industrial processes, according to official data. In the fiscal year 2016/17, the department penalised only three industries—Hira Textiles, Pokhara Noodles Pvt. Ltd. and Sujal Dairy.
“We cannot punish every industry that we inspect. Some make the required corrections during the process. However, the overall monitoring of even one company takes months and several visits, slowing down the effectiveness,” said Dawadi.
He hopes the new monitoring plan would make the process fast and efficient.