Air quality tracking gets a private push

Air quality tracking gets a private push

While the KSPCB measures air quality on terraces of buildings, the private players and individuals measure the human-breathable level. DH file photo

The plummeting air pollution level in Bengaluru has lead to many private organisations to lock horns with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to check and disseminate air quality details.

Now, both the private players and civic bodies are setting up their own monitoring stations across the city.

While the KSPCB measures air quality on terraces of buildings, the private players and individuals measure the human-breathable level making it a game changer.

There are only 10 online monitoring stations operated in real-time by the KSPCB and 14 manual monitoring stations which measure PM10 on any two days in a week. But the citizens feel that the real-time data on the KSPCB website is not user-friendly. They find it tedious to understand and access location-specific data.

Meanwhile, KSPCB senior environmental officer Gurumurthy ensured that the data would be available soon on the website.

“We are holding a meeting with stakeholders in three days and will come up with a mitigation plan to tackle the pollution. We will submit it to National Green Tribunal for its approval. Meanwhile, I will direct my authorities to upload pollution data on the site,” he said.

The Health Air Coalition, a health sector-led initiative for clean air in the city, plans to instal 40 stationary monitoring devices across the city soon, with the first 15 already installed and generating data available to the public by April 5.

The coalition will maintain the monitors for a year so that by the end of the monitoring period, health experts can carry out a comparative analysis of annual average concentrations against WHO recommendations and Indian standards.The location of the monitors has been chosen in collaboration with health experts at the St John’s Research Institute, BBMP and KSPCB. Some of the locations include BBMP head

office at Corporation Circle, BBMP public health care centres at Banashankari, JC road, H Siddaiah Road, NR Colony at Basavanagudi and other places.

Mobile monitoring

Other groups are also monitoring pollution.

AirCare, a high-density particulate matter (PM2.5) monitoring network developed by an NGO in collaboration with Whitefield Rising group, monitors PM2.5 levels at 10 places.

Using mobile devices, other groups in the city also monitor air quality over Seven days at Jayanagar, Banashankari, Silk Board, Electronic city, Uttarahalli and MG road.

"We will carry out mobile monitoring with selected participants to better understand individual exposure and hotspots in the city," said Aishwarya Sudhir, a representative from Health Air Coalition.

"We will also share the pollution data and health impact assessments will with policy-makers for deliberations on air quality measures," Aishwarya added.

Ashish Verma, Professor of Transportation Engineering, IISc, said: "Right now we are discussing only the monitoring stations. The experts and civic authorities should also focus on the mitigation plan by identifying and having a clear idea about the sources of pollution."