Environmental Monitoring Framework
Establishing environmental monitoring mechanism is essential for ensuring and safeguarding the environment for maintaining its goods and services to sustain development in the province. It is also an effective tool for following progress of development initiatives, monitor the compliance of polluters, monitor environmental conditions of the region and provide guiding outline to improve implementation approach. Therefore systematic approach to environmental monitoring is critical for achieving Sustainable Development in Punjab.
Environmental monitoring can be described as a programme of recurring, systematic studies that reveals the state of the environment. The specific aspects of the environment to be studied are determined by environmental objectives and environmental legislation. The purpose of environmental monitoring is to assess the progress made to achieve given environmental objectives and to help detect new environmental issues. It can also be defined as a process with certain intervals repeated measurements of relevant characteristics with comparable (standardized) methods to follow changes and trends in nature and the environment over a (longer) period of time taking into account differentiation of the anthropogenic variations and trends from natural cycles and trends. 
Both of the definitions are dealing with repeated measurements to assess changes in the environment. Monitoring of environmental conditions is central to informed decision making. It allows the evaluation of the success or failure of management projects or can pinpoint new environmental problems that need regulatory attention for the implementation of environmental standards. The results of these assessments can be quantitative in the form of data and information or alternatively qualitative, based on subjective observation.
In Punjab the starting point is more difficult and unrewarding in the beginning, as there is very little data to assess change. Carrying out monitoring for environmental quality is a mandatory function of EPA Punjab which is bounded by the Punjab Environmental Protection Act, 2012 in Section 6 (1)(i) to: “Establishes systems and procedures for surveys, surveillance, monitoring, measurement, examination, investigation, research, inspection and audit to prevent and control pollution, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up pollution and rehabilitating the environment in various sectors”
As per the Punjab Environmental Quality Standards, EPA is responsible for monitoring of ambient air; industrial gaseous emissions; municipal and liquid industrial effluents; drinking water; Noise; Motor vehicle exhaust and noise; treatment of liquid and disposal of bio medical waste.
- Principles for Environmental Monitoring and Reporting
- Overall Approach and Methods for Environmental Monitoring
- Overview of Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN)
- Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) model for State of the Environment Reporting (SoER)
- Environmental Monitoring Plan for Punjab
- Definition by Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Union. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/printpdf/113097