Updated: January 3, 2016 4:55:25 am
At 1 pm on Friday, a white Maruti van with a curious-looking device attached on top stopped near Gargi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya behind Green Park market, drawing the attention of residents. This is Delhi’s first mobile air quality monitoring system which began doing the rounds of the capital for the first time Friday morning.
Starting from ISKON temple at about 10.30 am, and winding up at Kamala Nehru college in the evening at about 7, the van covered eight spots in the city.
“At each location, we stopped for 20 minutes, captured the data and sent it through WiFi. Our technicians then average out the data for these 20 minutes and send it to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for every location,” said Adarsh Kapur, MD of Nevco Engineering Private Limited. The company purchased the van and is operating it for the DPCC.
At Green Park, the total suspended particulate matter level was already over 350 micrograms per cubic metre, of which PM 1 measured 98 micrograms per cubic metre. These particles are being measured for the first time. At Hauz Khas Enclave, the third stop at about 3 pm, the values rose sharply with PM 10 touching 200 micrograms per cubic metre.
Over the next few days, the van will measure seven standard pollutants between 10 am and 7 pm. It will cover around 210 locations spread over the 70 Assembly constituencies to get the DPCC its first colony-wise air quality monitoring data between January 1 and 15.
According to officials, a pipe and noose attached to the device atop the van sucks in the ambient air. The structure contains the air quality monitoring machine, Aeroqual. A laptop inside the van has the software which analyses the real-time data within seconds. It shows how by 2 pm, the particulate matter curves in South Delhi is already witnessing sharp spikes.
“The stationary machines are usually located away from residential areas. This machine will help us understand the quality of air a citizen is breathing near their homes. We are going inside colonies, near construction sites and traffic intersections to get this data,” said Kapur.
“We are also supplying data while commuting between these locations. We have to drive below 40 km/hr to ensure data flow is continuous and the equipment does not get damaged,” said Akansh, the senior engineer deployed in the van.
Between Hauz Khas, Green Park and Copernicus Marg, the van barely crossed 20 km/ hour. “The idea is to measure this data now and then compare it to data after 15 days to see how pollution levels fare when the policy is completed,”said Dr M P George, a senior DPCC scientist.
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