Sustainability Science Program

Hardik Shah

Hardik Shah

Hardik ShahMr. Hardik Shah
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 502 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-5947
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Based in India

Hardik Shah is a Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and a doctoral candidate in the Chemical Engineering Department at Nirma University in India. He is an environmental engineer and Member Secretary of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, a regulatory body at the State level, having a mandate of enforcing environmental regulations. He is interested in environmental impact assessment, coastal zone management, emission trading for environmental management, and strategic planning of public policies. His research looks at what modifications of the US model of water quality trading would be required for its application in India. His PhD dissertation focuses on water quality trading in the Indian scenario. Hardik is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Development in India led by Professor Rohini Pande. He has worked for 17 years in the field of environmental engineering, planning and management. He has been associated with the Government of Gujarat since 1996 and has been instrumental in the design and execution of various policies, plans, and programs on environmental management in India in general, and Gujarat in particular. He has successfully implemented an e-Governance program for Pollution Control Boards for increased transparency in environmental governance as well as efficient functioning and sound decision-making. He received his Law degree (LLB) (1997), Masters of Engineering (2003) and Bachelor of Engineering (1994) all from Gujarat University in India. His faculty hosts are Rohini Pande at Harvard and Michael Greenstone at MIT.

Applicability of US water quality trading programs in an Indian scenario
There are successful models of water quality trading in various parts of the United States. Successful application of these models have reduced the burden of pollutants on receiving water bodies and thereby improved the environmental quality. Major parts of India are arid- and semi-arid with erratic rainfall. There is a large-scale dependency on surface and groundwater for various applications including agriculture, drinking water and industrial uses. Effluent discharge from various industries contaminates water sources. Although there are standards prescribed for discharge of effluents, the cost of treatment and availability of viable technology are prohibitive. Therefore, many industries remain non-compliant and face the consequences from the regulatory bodies. The actions, normally taken in accordance with law in India, include issuance of improvement notice, show cause notice, criminal proceedings and/or closure of industry based on the severity of non-compliance. However, the improvement in many cases is far from satisfactory. This project looks at how the model of water quality trading could be used where technology is available or the pollutants could be treated without making the production non-viable. Industries treat their effluents beyond the standards prescribed and get the incentives; whereas industries that cannot treat their effluents pay for their non-compliance. The overall scenario remains within compliance levels and there is no deterioration of water environmental quality. The project reviews US models and examines applicability in common effluent treatment plants where many industries discharge their primary treated effluents for further treatment. In case of non-compliance of inlet standards, the industries buy credits or have some disincentive compared with those that fully comply. Beyond compliance industries would earn credits.

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