Reliable air-quality data essential to end air pollution

Updated on Aug 24, 2019 09:11 PM IST
It will help standardise measurements and bring down the cost of monitors by boosting manufacturing in the country.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) certification of all instruments and equipment that monitor emissions and ambient air quality will help standardise measurements and bring down the cost of monitors by boosting manufacturing in the country
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) certification of all instruments and equipment that monitor emissions and ambient air quality will help standardise measurements and bring down the cost of monitors by boosting manufacturing in the country
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) certification of all instruments and equipment that monitor emissions and ambient air quality will help standardise measurements and bring down the cost of monitors by boosting manufacturing in the country. The NPL is the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s national measurement standards lab that calibrates the national standards of weights and measures and maintains standards of the International System of Units, which is the world’s most widely-used measurement system.

In the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate’s notification dated August 22 under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, NPL has been authorised to certify instruments and develop testing and certification facilities conforming to ISO standards for both automatic and manual samplers used to monitor air quality.

The NPL has already established certification of manual-monitoring systems for PM2.5 and PM10, which will now be extended to Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) that are used to track grossly polluting industries to ensure they comply with regulatory norms. It will begin by certifying the AQI monitors being used by the Central and state pollution control boards to track ambient and source-based emissions, and then move to certify instruments used in homes.

PM 2.5 and PM 10 are dust and pollution particles 2.5 microns and 10 microns or less in diameter, respectively, which are inhaled and get lodged in the airways and lungs. Ultrafine dust (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less) are the size of viruses and can cross the lung-blood barrier to slip into the bloodstream, inflaming the blood vessels and damaging heart health.

With an estimated 91% of the world’s population exposed to air pollution, poor air quality is world’s biggest environmental health risk. It causes and aggravates several diseases, including respiratory diseases like asthma, lung infections and chronic obstructive lung disease, heart disease, stroke, and cancers.

Air pollution leads to at least 7 million deaths worldwide each year, of which around 4.2 million deaths are from poor quality outdoor air and 3.8 million deaths from indoor air pollution, mostly from the use of unclean cooking fuels like coal and wood. In India, pollution kills 1.1 million people every year and accounts for 10.6% of all deaths, according to the State of Global Air 2018 report.

Measuring air quality using reliable data helps launch actionable measures to mitigate pollution, such as introducing clean air laws, stopping industrial pollution, using cleaner fuel for transport and cooking, issuing health alerts for people at risk, among others.

Under the national clean air programme (NCAP), the Centre is expanding the air-monitoring network to cities and towns that don’t comply with national air quality standards. The NCAP has a target of reducing PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration by 20-30% by 2024 in 102 non-attainment cities over the 2017 levels. Non-attainment cities are those that did not meet the national standards for annual PM10 concentrations from 2011 to 2015.

The National Air Monitoring Programme (NAMP) uses at least 700 manual and automatic stations measure levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM/PM10), along with meteorological parameters such as wind speed and direction, relative humidity and temperature, across 240 cities/towns in 31 states and union territories. Some states like Delhi also measure ozone and PM2.5 concentrations.

The instruments currently being used to monitor pollution, especially those used for CEMS, are manufactured abroad and certified by international agencies in the US and European Union. Not having its own certification process forces Indian industry to get international certification, which is expensive and time consuming.

Domestic certification and manufacturing will help meet the increasing demand for reliable monitors that function optimally in the extreme temperature variations, dust and humidity in India. The affordability of these made-in-India industrial, home and portable devices will be an added bonus.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sanchita is the health & science editor of the Hindustan Times. She has been reporting and writing on public health policy, health and nutrition for close to two decades. She is an International Reporting Project fellow from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was part of the expert group that drafted the Press Council of India’s media guidelines on health reporting, including reporting on people living with HIV.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The border belt has seen over 20 drone-drops --- used for smuggling weapons, ammo and drugs from across the border --- in the past seven months. (HT PHOTO)

    Four pistols, 8 magazines seized from Pakistan border in Amritsar

    Police have recovered four pistols and their ammunition, believed to be dropped by a drone in the Lopoke area of the district near the India-Pakistan border. A team led by Lopoke police station in-charge Mantej Singh, launched a search operation in the area where the drone was spotted. More than 20 incidents of drone movements and smuggling of weapons and drugs at the Punjab border with Pakistan have been reported in this year.

  • An interstate gang involved in ATM fraud was busted with the arrest of three of its members in Pathankot. (HT PHOTO)

    ATM fraud: Three arrested with 66 cards, swipe machine in Pathankot

    An interstate gang involved in ATM fraud was busted with the arrest of three of its members in Pathankot on Wednesday. The accused – Ramesh Kumar, Pareen and Sikander of Hisar in Haryana – were arrested during a special operation. As many as 66 ATM cards, 19,000 cash, and a swipe machine were seized from the accused. Their SUV was also impounded.

  • With 11,000 of the 90,000 subsidised machines supplied to farmers over the last four years for in-situ stubble management missing, the Punjab agricultural department has decided to rope in the VB to look into the matter and take action (HT File)

    In-situ stubble management: 11,000 machines go missing in Punjab, agri dept pushes for VB action

    With 11,000 of the 90,000 subsidised machines supplied to farmers over the last four years for in-situ stubble management missing, the Punjab agricultural department has decided to rope in the vigilance bureau to look into the matter and take action. The loss incurred has been pegged at ₹140 crore, as per the agricultural department's preliminary investigation. It is likely that action will be taken against machine manufacturers, dealers, users and some department officials.

  • A day after three men were arrested with arms and explosives, police on Wednesday said the accused would send money earned from the sale of drugs to their Pakistan-based handlers through hawala channel (HT PHOTO)

    Trio held with RDX sent drug money to Pakistan via hawala channel: Punjab Police

    A day after three men were arrested with arms and explosives, police on Wednesday said the accused would send money earned from the sale of drugs to their Pakistan-based handlers through hawala channel. Their car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was also impounded. The arrested accused had also been in contact with head of banned outfit International Sikh Youth Federation, Lakhbir Singh Rode. Rode is suspected to be living in Lahore.

  • All-India Postal Employees’ Union members protesting over the alleged privatisation of postal service by the Union government outside the postal office in Ludhiana. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

    Ludhiana residents left harried by postal staffers’ one-day strike

    Long queues of people waiting to get their work done were witnessed at the head post office near the mini secretariat due to the absence of staff, while the other post offices including Model Town, Miller Ganj, Focal Point and central post office remained closed altogether. The employees on strike included postmen, clerical staff, multi-tasking staff and gramin dak sevaks.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now