US university, Indian experts to study source of Delhi’s pollutants
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US university, Indian experts to study source of Delhi’s pollutants

The 18-month-long study would help authorities not just to get a better idea of the chemical composition of Delhi’s pollution but would also identify the source of pollutants in an almost real-time manner.

delhi Updated: Jan 08, 2019 11:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
pollution in delhi,AQI,washtington university
A man at Kirti Nagar on Monday morning. Delhi’s air quality was recorded to be 333, which was in the very poor category.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

A joint study to be conducted by Indian scientists and their peers at Washington University, expected to start later this month, will throw light on pollutants in Delhi’s air and their sources, the Delhi government said on Monday.

The 18-month-long study would help authorities not just to get a better idea of the chemical composition of Delhi’s pollution but would also identify the source of pollutants in an almost real-time manner.

Officials said the study would be jointly conducted by scientists from the Washington University at St Louis, Missouri, and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). Even though the study was proposed in March 2018 as a part of AAP government’s first ‘Green Budget’, the memorandum of understanding was signed on last Thursday.

“Apart from the usual pollutants such as PM10 and PM2.5, which we know of, the study is expected to shed light on sources of several other pollutants such as PM1. It would also analyse elemental, organic carbon and 72 inorganic elements. Simply speaking it would help us to better understand the chemistry of Delhi’s pollution,” said a senior DPCC official privy to the matter.

At present the National Air Quality Index monitors eight key pollutants such as PM2.5, PM10, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, among others.

Officials said that by using the new study, authorities would be able to pin-point the source of pollution on a real-time basis and take action accordingly. This would come handy particularly in winter when Delhi encounters a spike in pollution levels. It would let authorities immediately enforce measures control pollutants from particular sources.

IIT-Kanpur is also planning to conduct a similar study with findings from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). At present most of the source apportionment studies that have been done for Delhi are seasonal and they identify the pollution sources according to seasons — summer and winter.

“Wireless sensors will be deployed together with algorithm developed by the scientists. This would help monitoring real-time air quality and the source at selected locations in the city,” said an official of the Delhi government’s environment department.

The study is expected to start by the end of this month and would take around 18 months to complete. A major portion of the work would be done by scientists from the Aerosol and Air Quality Research Laboratory at Washington University. The laboratory has expertise to identify air quality problems and suggest the solutions to curtail the emission to reduce the air pollutant release.

First Published: Jan 08, 2019 11:41 IST