The Environment Ministry held a meeting to discuss application of advanced technologies to deal with air pollution incidents and improve the overall air quality management framework. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. C.K Mishra. The Expert institutions which participated include 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 ground-based 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.
Setting up of a system for certification of air quality emission monitoring instruments was also discussed in the meeting. This will help in local manufacturing of air quality monitoring instruments.
Three major decisions were taken at the meeting. First, it was decided that the DST will take the lead on technology interventions for possible use before the onset of winter. Second, 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.
Last, but never the least, the 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 should enable a better management framework for air quality management in the country in the next three months.
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