Monday, August 16, 2010

Pollution Alert System Ready for Launch in Delhi

Article from Hindustan Times on August 16th, 2010

Pollution Alert System Ready to be Launched in Delhi, India
The apex pollution watchdog is ready with the country’s first air-pollution forecast and alert system, meant to serve the organisers of the Commonwealth Games.

The system will issue alerts with focused information on all the stadium areas and the Games Village, 48 hours in advance. “We will use September as the trial month and commission the system right before the Games,” said D. Saha, senior scientist at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The program will cover all of the National Capital Region (NCR) — 50 km north to south and 50 km east to west — so that a forecast is available for every nook and corner, including transport, residential, and industrial hot spots.

“We have previously developed similar systems for Beijing Olympics in 2008 and are also developing one for Rio de Janeiro as part of Olympics 2016 preparations,” said Sarath Guttikunda, deputy programme manager of Aria Technologies, one of two French firms developing the system for the CPCB, with financial support from the French government.

“In Delhi, it is meant for the Commonwealth Games, to begin with and will continue to serve the city after that,” Guttikunda added.

For easy understanding of the degree of air-pollution risk as forecast in the alerts, the architects of the system have devised a simple 150-point scale to measure pollution, after computing the latest official standards for each air pollutant, like particulate matters, noxious gases etc.

And going by the present status, air at most places in Delhi crosses the 150 mark, around 76 per cent of the days in a year, architects of the system have found.

Along with data from the CPCB’s monitoring stations, the makers have also installed four — three stationary and one mobile — advanced pollution monitors called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) machines for optical remote sensing, to measure pollutant concentrations and wind.

The system’s accuracy is designed to distinguish between biomass burning, dust, and other kinds of air pollution.

In the blog, on air pollution in Delhi

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