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MPCB gets real-time air pollution data using drones

By Badri Chatterjee, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON NOV 28, 2019 12:27 AM IST

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has started using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to monitor pollution at specific traffic junctions in the city. MPCB said it had received permission from Mumbai Police to use drones.

Starting Monday, MPCB began monitoring air quality at multiple locations, including Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) Main Gate and the area opposite L&T complex in Powai.

Air quality monitors mounted on drones have been placed along a 10-kilometre stretch along the Andheri Ghatkopar Link Road and will provide real-time data. “We are monitoring air quality in three different time frames – morning, 8am to 11am; afternoon, 1pm to 2pm; and evening, 5pm to 8pm. The range of real time air quality data is being acquired from ground level up to 140 metres,” said VM Motghare, joint director (air quality), MPCB.

The drones will collect data on ground-level, tail-pipe emission from vehicles; determine the concentration of different pollutants close to the surface; and identify the altitude at which vertical dispersion takes place. Motghare said the data collected would improve understanding of the concentration of particulate matter and pollutants like nitrogen oxide.

HT was the first to report on November 18 that MPCB would begin this exercise across five major locations in the city. “The final aim is to understand natural dispersion patterns and may enable us to better design localised abatement measures,” said Sudhir Srivastava, chairman, MPCB.

After assessing the data, mitigation measures will be identified under the city’s air pollution action plan. A similar exercise will be carried out at four other locations: Fort to JJ Junction in south Mumbai; Nana Chowk to Lower Parel in south-central Mumbai; Malad to Borivli (including Dindoshi, Veer Savarkar flyover, Malad chowk) in the western suburbs; and Bhandup to Thane railway stations. Motghare said the drones would monitor pollution for two weeks and MPCB would release the analysis and findings within 90 days.

“Mumbai has been taken up as a model city and if this study is a success, it will be replicated across other cities like Nagpur, Nasik and Pune,” he said.

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