New sensors by IIT-Kanpur to give local data on pollution to residents
The Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, in partnership with a Mumbai-based start-up, has developed and installed first-of-its-kind, low-cost air quality monitoring sensors at 30 locations across Delhi and the neighbouring satellite towns to provide local data on the sources of pollution.
The data from the sensors, which have been designed to measure particulate matter of size 10 microns (PM10) and 2.5 microns (PM2.5), will not only be available to anti-pollution agencies but local residents as well, the developers said.
IIT-Kanpur scientists explained that the sensors gathers and transmit data more effectively than air quality monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR. Delhi has 36 monitoring stations run by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
Scientists said it is a collaboration between IIT-Kanpur, Mumbai-based Respirer Living Sciences and Ericsson (India), which for the first time in has used Narrow Bandwidth-Internet of Things technology in India.
The project is led by Sachchida Nand Tripathi, head of department (civil engineering) who is also a member of the National Clean Air Programme and professor Abhay Karandika, director, IIT-Kanpur. Data generated from these sensors will be shared on a common platform to help community groups in understanding air quality situation in their areas.
The first batch of these sensors have been installed at 30 locations, including Dhaula Kuan, RK Puram, Mundka, Rohini, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Noida.
“This is a patent-pending technology that IIT-Kanpur has developed. These sensors are low-cost but they are very well calibrated. This will not only provide a clear picture of which local sources are acting up, but also provide information of how much contribution is coming from outside,” said Tripathi.
Ronak Sutaria, founder and CEO of Respirer Living Sciences, which is the industry partner in this project, said that these sensors cost just 1/20th the price of reference grade stations that are currently installed in Delhi. Setting up a reference grade station may cost ₹10 lakh to ₹12 lakh per station, but these new sensors cost around ₹50,000, with an accuracy of over 90%.
“One of the objectives of these sensors is to provide local residents information about what his happening in their neighbourhood. Also, when you are taking certain actions to improve the air quality you need such hyper-local air quality data, which is presently not available in the country. This device can also run on a single charge battery for at least six months,” Sutaria said.
Experts and residents both welcomed the concept.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said, “Data access is the first step of solving the problem of pollution in the region. Hyper-local data will also help government agencies make dedicated plans for each area and address the sources more efficiently.,” Roychowdhury said.