Delhi will soon have its own air quality index to monitor its toxic air. In the pipeline for some months now, the environment department is expected to launch a mobile application for the new index by the end of this year.
With the new index, Delhi will get three separate government-run portals to give information about air quality. The other two are the National Air Quality Index and the SAFAR index .
“We have been working on the system for some time now. A substantial amount of work has been completed already,” said environment secretary Ashwani Kumar.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is already monitoring air quality levels at six different locations — Anand Vihar, Civil Lines, IGI Airport, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram.
The DPCC shares this data with the Central Pollution Control Board that manages the National Air Quality Index.
“In this index, the pollution parameters for all locations are not clear. In our system, the information will be present for all pollution parameters that we monitor. The recorded value of a pollutant will be displayed as the rolling average of the past 24 hours,” Kumar said.
Out of the six DPCC stations, five monitor the concentration of ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, oxides of nitrogen, ozone, p-Xylene, sulphur dioxide, toluene, particulate matter 2.5 and particulate matter 10. Of these, particulate matter is the biggest pollutant in Delhi. In summers, high concentration of ozone is also a persistent problem.
The environment department has set a target of January first week to kick off a number of projects that aim to tackle as well as monitor air pollution. It will monitor air quality before, during and after the 15-day odd-even formula that starts on January 1.
“At this time, we will monitor air quality at 20 additional fixed places. We have also got 5-6 portable air monitoring kits. The final aim is to get air quality data from at least 200 locations,” Kumar said.