Currently, the HSPCB has two air quality monitors in the entire district, one at the Vikas Sadan building near Mini Secretariat and the other in Manesar.(HT File)
Currently, the HSPCB has two air quality monitors in the entire district, one at the Vikas Sadan building near Mini Secretariat and the other in Manesar.(HT File)

Gurugram district to get 17 pollution monitors, 15 of them in city

The GMDA has stepped in to install at least 15 low-cost monitoring devices specifically to measure particulate matter pollution in Gurugram. GMDA officials confirmed on Tuesday that these would become active by March.
By Prayag Arora Desai, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON FEB 06, 2019 02:59 PM IST

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) will install two new air quality monitors in Gurugram district within the next couple of months, HSPCB’s member secretary S Narayanan confirmed, adding that locations for the same will be determined by the end of this month, and requisite funds have been approved by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

“Presently, we have two monitors in the district that are linked with the CPCB’s air quality index (AQI) bulletin. Data from the new monitors will also be reflected in the daily bulletin once they are active,” Narayan said.

However, in September last year, prior to the ongoing winter pollution cycle, the state board had planned to install a citywide network of air quality monitoring devices in Gurugram. Since then, only one other air quality monitor has been installed in Manesar. Narayanan confirmed that there were no immediate plans to install such monitors in Gurugram city.

Experts said it was imperative to have a robust monitoring mechanism to successfully tackle air pollution at source. “Isolated monitors in two, three or even four locations are fine, but they do not help much when it comes to making general statements about air quality in a large region,” city-based air quality expert Sachin Panwar said, adding that Gurugram needs a larger network of low-cost devices, if not heavy-duty and costly machinery. “The cost of air quality monitors is one of the main reasons why cities outside Delhi are unable to establish a wide data net,” he explained.

GMDA steps in

To provide this city-specific view, however, the GMDA has stepped in to install at least 15 low-cost monitoring devices specifically to measure particulate matter pollution in Gurugram. GMDA officials confirmed on Tuesday that these would become active by March.

“We are also planning a public display system where citizens can access this data,” said MD Sinha, additional CEO and head of GMDA’s urban environment division.

However, these monitors will not be connected to the CPCB’s AQI bulletin as they will only capture PM2.5 and PM10 data. AQI, on the other hand, also needs data on SOx, NOx, ozone and carbon monoxide. “Equipment to capture such data can get prohibitively expensive,” Sinha said.

He added that PM2.5 and PM10 levels can be taken as representative of pollution levels overall. “The purpose of these monitors is to give a pan-city view of general pollution level, and these monitors should suffice in doing that as particulate matter is the most pervasive pollutant in the city. We have received many bids from private companies who will maintain this system for us,” Sinha said, adding that the HSPCB would also be nominating an expert to assist in picking the right partner.

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