Environment Ministry discusses application of advanced technologies to deal with air pollution incidents

A meeting with expert institutions was held in the Environment Ministry on Monday to discuss application of advanced technologies to deal with air pollution incidents and improve the overall air quality management framework.

The expert institutions included Satellite Application Centre (SAC) of ISRO, Department of Science &Technology (DST), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The issues taken up for discussion included – use of satellite-based Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) data for estimating groundbased PM2.5 levels, establishing early warning system and dissemination protocol to inform public and enforcing agencies about episodic high pollution events in advance.

The meeting also discussed the issue of assessment of air pollution mitigation technologies and implementing solutions found technically feasible on a pilot basis, before the onset of winter. It also discussed the setting up of a system for certification of air quality emission monitoring instruments. This will provide a boost to local manufacturing of air quality monitoring instruments, since calibration and certification could be done domestically.

 The following decisions were taken: 

  • DST will take the lead on technology interventions for possible use before the onset of winter. They should provide the results of their assessments in 2 weeks, so that pilots could be quickly rolled out.
  • An expert group will be constituted, which will provide its recommendation in a month’s time on early warning system, including dissemination protocol and application of satellite based measurement for improving air quality information and management.
  • National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) will be the certification agency for air quality measurement instruments. Certification of PM2.5 and PM10 volume samplers will commence from September, 2018.

These steps will enable a better management framework for air quality management in the next 3 months.

The meeting was chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, C.K Mishra.