Centre to launch air pollution app | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Centre to launch air pollution app

The Capital is set to get the country’s first mobile app designed to monitor air pollution in the city on real-time basis. The app, also the first to be launched by the Centre, goes live on Tuesday and would monitor air quality in five regions of Delhi.

delhi Updated: Feb 16, 2015 08:01 IST
A-man-covers-his-face-on-a-smoggy-day-at-Connaught-Place-in-New-Delhi-Mohd-Zakir-HT-File-Photo
A-man-covers-his-face-on-a-smoggy-day-at-Connaught-Place-in-New-Delhi-Mohd-Zakir-HT-File-Photo

The Capital is set to get the country’s first mobile app designed to monitor air pollution in the city on real-time basis. The app, also the first to be launched by the Centre, goes live on Tuesday and would monitor air quality in five regions of Delhi.

The app, called SAFAR-Air, has been designed by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Metereology (IITM), an autonomous institution under the ministry of earth sciences, and will provide updates on current air quality and forecast for up to three days. A similar service will be launched in Mumbai and Pune soon.
“The app provides easily understandable colour-coded advisories for people to plan their outdoor trips based on air quality,” said Gufrain Beig, project director of System for Air quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The app is based on the air quality forecasting project handed to IITM during the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the latest air quality index prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board. The index uses a colour-coded system to indicate air quality wherein red means that one should stay indoors. According to the index, air quality in most of the monitored locations in Delhi was red in December and January. The situation has improved slightly in February with the warm weather helping the dispersal of pollutants.

Air quality advisories will be available for north, south, east, west and central Delhi. But, the information may not be very precise as IITM has one monitoring station for each zone, with some at a distance from highly-polluted zones.

The app does not take into account the air pollution monitoring done by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, whose network of pollution monitoring stations is much bigger than that of IITM. For the app to introduce a warning system, IITM will need to upgrade the software that collects air quality information on real-time basis. In addition, synergy between different agencies that collect data on air quality in Delhi will be essential.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed Delhi as the most polluted city among 1,600 in the world, for particulate matter pollution. It also warned that air pollution was the six biggest killer in India. According to a recent study, air pollution in Delhi can reduce one’s life by up to three years.