Combating air pollution: Delhi-NCR may get common air quality index
At present the ministry of earth sciences through its System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) displays separate AQI. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has its own real-time data.Updated: Sep 03, 2017 23:57 IST
The National Capital Region, often claimed to be the one of the worst polluted zones in the world, would soon get a common Air Quality Index (AQI), which would give a more accurate picture of the air quality.
At present the ministry of earth sciences through its System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) displays separate AQI. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has its own real-time data.
In a review meeting held last week, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) urged the CPCB to integrate the daily data on air quality from SAFAR, DPCC and other state pollution control boards in NCR and come up with a single air quality index.
“Discussions with officials from ministry of earth sciences have already been held and the DPCC data is already connected to our system. We can come up with a single AQI by month-end,” said a senior official of CPCB.
At present Delhi has around 18 monitoring stations while 20 would be added more by October this year taking the total to 38. Sources said that the NCR will have around 50 air quality monitoring stations by December 2017.
“With the winter season approaching when pollution levels are expected to shoot up, the new system would be of much help to the authorities and EPCA to implement the graded response action plan in Delhi-NCR,” said an EPCA member.
The air quality index or AQI is basically a figure and a series of colour codings shared by agencies on the level of pollution. For example, the one CPCB shares, ranges between 0 and 500.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘Good’, 51-100 ‘Satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘Moderate’, 201-300 ‘Poor’, 301-400 ‘Very Poor’, and 401-500 ‘Severe’.
Each category comes with its own advisory. In case of ‘Moderate’, it warns of breathing discomfort to people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases while ‘Severe’ means the air quality is so bad that it may affect even healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.
The CPCB has also formed around 40 teams for round-the-clock inspections at the ground level to check violations such as burning of waste in the open, dust from construction projects and visibly polluting vehicles on roads through the winter months when pollution levels in Delhi spike.