Air pollution sensors to be certified from September

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Beginning September, the government plans on certifying pollution monitoring instruments to improve the measurement and forecast of air pollution episodes. This is part of an initiative to boost local manufacturing while anticipating a massive demand for such instruments as part of the government’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

The NCAP envisions setting up 1,000 manual air-quality-monitoring stations (a 45% increase from the present number) and 268 automatic stations (triple the current 84). It also plans to set up pollution-monitoring stations in rural areas.

Currently most of the instruments used by organisations such as the Central Pollution Control Board, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and private organisations are imported samplers. The National Physical Laboratory, a CSIR lab that’s tasked with certifying the fidelity of these instruments, has previously said that many of them suffered problems of calibration.

On Monday, experts from many organisations, including the Indian Space Research Organisation, and the Department of Science &Technology (DST), deliberated on ways to improve forecasts using satellites and develop an early warning system as well as setting up a system for certification of air quality emission monitoring instruments.

“This will provide a boost to local manufacturing of air quality monitoring instruments, since calibration and certification could be done domestically,” the statement added.

The DST would take the lead on technology interventions and the 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, according to a statement from the Environment Ministry.

“Organisations that need to export samplers as well as factories or industrial units that need to install pollution monitoring devices would also benefit from certification,” said Dinesh Aswal, Director CSIR-NPL, who was part of the meeting.

Independent experts said there were various technologies now available to better monitor and forecast pollution and greater awareness about particulate matter and that would mean that more agencies would require low-cost, effective sensors.

“Currently satellite-based air monitoring is becoming popular and effective to monitor particulate matter over a large area,” said Sachchida Nand Tripathi, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and who works on air pollution.

“However many of the existing machines — including the CPCBs — are already certified by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. There could however be a need for certification for new low-cost samplers that are likely to come up.”

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:11:29 PM |

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