Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Air Quality Data for Indian Cities is Hard to Come by !!

In fact, very hard - websites do not work, only hard copies of averages which are at least two years old are available only at the centers, and usually no response to most of the data requests by phone, email, or letter :-(


Here is an article in Times of India

Yale University issued a statement on Thursday clarifying that they don't compare air quality in major cities as part of the annual Environment Performance Index (EPI). The index ranks countries on the basis of environmental parameters. However, the university also suggested that there was no reliable data from India which could help them analyze city-specific trends and that is why they had to rely on satellite data.

"We found the air quality data available for India to be limited, inconsistent and difficult to access. Data for half of the monitoring stations in Delhi was unavailable when we checked CPCB on Wednesday. While we could find evidence of some data for PM2.5, it required specialized knowledge of what to look for and multiple layers of searches. Moreover, we could find little to no information with respect to how the government regularly (if they do at all) communicates air pollution information to the public, such as via an Air Quality Index, which is used by the United States and major cities in China with a mandate for national implementation by 2016," Angel Hsu, lead author of EPI, told TOI.

How bad is Outdoor Air Quality in India?

China started releasing hourly and 24-hour data for PM2.5 in 113 major cities at the end of 2013, with an eventual goal of increasing the number of monitoring sites to 1,500 in all prefecture-level cities by 2015. "There is no substitute for reliable, timely, local-level air quality measurements. It is precisely the absence of global network of such data that forces us to rely on satellite data," added Hsu.

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