Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Indian Updates: Mumbai to get pollution information on 15 screens (5 Aug 2013)

Clean Air Initiative

Mumbai to get pollution information on 15 screens
Posted by Kathleen Dematera on 5 Aug 2013
By Pratibha Masand, The Times of India
August 1, 2013
MUMBAI: Real-time weather information and pollution levels will soon be available at big traffic intersections in the city. By mid-2014, the city will get air quality monitoring systems at ten locations, data from which will be displayed on big screens at 15 of the busiest crossings. The city is also likely to get a second Doppler radar.
Under the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the data generated by the air quality stations will be sent to the weather bureau through GPRS, and after it is processed, passed on to civic authorities.
The System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a project of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), will generate air quality data for the public. The information will be available via SMS and email, based on subscription. If the threshold of any pollutant is crossed, an alarm will be raised. The air quality stations will be distributed in a way to generate data in as localized a way as possible.
"The initiative is by the ministry of earth sciences," said K S Hosalikar, who has taken over from N Y Apte as the deputy director general of IMD, Mumbai.
"The ten air quality stations will include Panvel and Thane. Observations will be micro-level; sensors at the stations will monitor levels of carbon, sulphur dioxide, ammonia, dust, smoke and greenhouse gases," he said.
Thirty more automatic weather stations are in the pipeline. Hosalikar said the IMD will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BMC to procure sites for the stations.
The sensors at every station will be location-specific. "For instance, if a particular area has more complaints of acid rain, the station will measure ammonia levels," Hosalikar explained. "We will make sure that the sensors are neither too close nor too far from a pollution source like a factory. This will help us to get an unbiased measurement of pollution."
About getting another Doppler radar, he said referring to the S-band radar installed about three years ago, "In a city like Mumbai, one Doppler radar is not enough. The Met department is hopeful of setting up another radar. We have given a projection for a C-band radar, which will solve the dual purpose of tracking regular weather and helping with aviation signals (S and C bands are frequency ranges)."
Incidentally, the BMC started 33 weather stations earlier in the year, bringing the total in the city to 60.
"Our stations can measure all aspects of the weather, but we collect only rainfall data during the monsoon," said Mahesh Narvekar, head of the BMC's disaster management cell.

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