Citizens affected by air pollution in their area will be able to post complaints, attach pictures and provide their suggestions through an internet application developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The first-of-its-kind app, called ‘Sameer’, created under the guidance of the Union environment ministry will, apart from providing a forum to file complaints, also provide hourly updates on air pollution from 17 cities, including Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. The readings will be in the form of Air Quality Index (AQI).
While other available apps such as Plume Air, Air Quality Index Central (AQICN) and the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) only provide real-time AQI updates and forecasts for the next day for specific metropolitan cities, Sameer allows citizens to post complaints about vehicular pollution, industrial emissions, open burning, construction/demolition activities. Along with the complaint, citizens need to upload their name, mobile number and email id. The app also allows users to compare AQI levels in the form of a list or a map view.
“The app is like a public forum where people can file complaints regarding pollution problems. Citizens can write a brief description and attach a photo and in turn we will be sending the complaints to city, state or central authorities to take immediate action regarding pollution problems,” said A Sudhakar, additional director, CPCB. “It is not necessary that complaints are filed from only the 17 cities mentioned under the app. Citizens can file complaints from anywhere across the country.”
Sudhakar said the app is active, but only on a trial basis,. “We are inviting suggestions and objections from citizens with regard to the feasibility of the app. Based on the results, we will be officially launching it after May 31,” he said.
Researchers that viewed the app said it needed to provide alerts so that people are aware of the air quality around them. “The app developers to add push notifications to the app, so that metro city residents are alerted every time the air pollution becomes unsafe. This would further increase its usefulness,” said Philip Earis, scientist and resident of Bandra.