Ahmedabad gets air quality monitors to battle pollution

City’s first comprehensive air pollution alert system will focus on health risk communication

Updated - May 12, 2017 07:15 am IST

Published - May 11, 2017 11:56 pm IST - Ahmedabad

Trouble in the air: Smoke is seen rising from a garbage dumping ground in Ahmedabad.

Trouble in the air: Smoke is seen rising from a garbage dumping ground in Ahmedabad.

To effectively battle increasing air pollution, the Ahmedabad civic body is launching a comprehensive Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Information and Response (AIR) plan that includes an air pollution alert system and health risk communication, based on real-time data.

The initiative by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) focuses on health risk communication with immediate and long term actions to reduce the impact of rising air pollution. Ahmedabad has a population of close to 70 lakh.

The new air quality monitors installed across the city will collect and report data on smog and toxic pollutants as part of the AQI. It will be used to inform residents on when to take precautions and minimise exposure to pollution.

Anjali Jaiswal of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC), which has partnered the AMC in this initiative, said, “This initiative involves five key factors: health risk communication, inter-agency coordination, increasing capacity of medical professionals and targeted activities for vulnerable groups like school children, senior citizens and adults with heart or lung disease.”

As per the plan, an AQI forecast reading ‘very poor’ air quality (301-400) triggers a health alert that is to be issued by the civic body through its communication channels. The alert if also to be displayed in colour-coded messages on a dozen large-size LED screens installed on city roads, social media platforms and traditional media like newspapers and radio.

Lending technical expertise to the initiative is Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which operate AQI in Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and several cities in other countries.

“Ahmedabad’s AIR plan is based on global best practices on AQI health risk communication from Beijing, Los Angeles, Mexico City and New Delhi. With this, we want to prove that you can have clean air and also prosperity without compromising on health of communities living in the city,” Ms. Jaiswal, who also assisted in formulating the city’s first Heat Action Plan (HAP), said. The HAP is being replicated by several cities nationally.

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