After Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, scientists at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology will set up the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) in Ahmedabad in March. Health alerts will also be sent via SMS to people suffering from respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.
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The SAFAR project to forecast the air quality was set up in 2010 in New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games. SAFAR was launched in Pune in 2013 and then in Mumbai in 2015. “We are now planning to launch the system next month in Ahmedabad,” Gufran Beig, project director of SAFAR told The Indian Express.
As many as 10 stations will monitor air quality, and 15 automatic weather stations will be set up in Ahmedabad. The scientists have also tied up with Indian Institute of Public Health to send alerts of poor air quality in the city to people suffering from respiratory diseases.
Dileep Mavalankar, director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, told The Indian Express that data of patients suffering from asthma and chronic bronchitis will be compiled. “For this purpose, we will connecting with various hospitals, doctors and paediatricians and get data of patients,” Mavalankar said.
SAFAR provides location specific information on air quality in near real time and also gives forecast for the next 24 hours. The ratings are colour coded — for instance green indicates “good” air quality. For dangerous levels of air pollution, the index flashes red.
The objective is to increase awareness among the public about the air quality in the city, so that appropriate mitigation action and systematic measures can be taken for betterment of the air quality and related health issues, Beig added. Health hazardous pollutants, including PM 2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns are considered more dangerous as these can penetrate into the lungs and enter the bloodstream), are monitored by SAFAR.