January 30, 2021 11:41:31 pm
Weeks after a study by the University of Washington to determine real-time air pollution sources in the city was terminated, a proposal for a similar project “that is larger in scope and cost” has been submitted to the Delhi government by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, officials said.
The proposal by IIT-Kanpur was cleared by the chairman of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) this week and has been sent to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s office for approval, Delhi government officials said.
“If the study is approved, the project team will set up their infrastructure here which can be used by the Delhi government. This includes multiple monitoring stations and a super station of 20-30 metre height,” a Delhi government official said.
“Although this study is on similar lines of the previous study by Washington University — which could not be taken forward — it is larger in scope and also in cost,” the official added.
The cost of this study is around Rs 11 crore, significantly higher than the Rs 1.2-crore budget for the University of Washington study, which was terminated by Sisodia earlier this month after a panel of experts raised multiple shortcomings in it. These shortcomings were about the methodology used, findings about the concentration of pollutants and other limitations that the panel found.
“The methodology and infrastructure being used in the new study is different from the previous one — which involved shipping of equipment from the United States. The infrastructure now being developed can be used by the Delhi government later,” the official said.
The new study will be undertaken by a team that includes experts from IIT-Kanpur and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and would take about a year to 18 months to complete if it is approved, another Delhi government official said.
If the approval from Sisodia’s office is granted, a panel comprising representatives of IITs, other than IIT- Kanpur, will be formed to study the proposal before it can be taken forward. The panel will be given a week’s time to give their decision, the official said.
A Delhi government spokesperson did not respond to queries on whether the Deputy CM’s office was currently studying the proposal.
Sources of pollution in the capital have been identified in previous studies by institutions including IIT-Kanpur, TERI and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). However, technology to determine them in real time — to develop better mitigation strategies — is being sought by the Delhi government. The basic outline of the study, if approved, is to determine the chemical composition of fine particles suspended in the air — called particulate matter (PM) — in real time, which would help trace their sources and influence policies and decisions to control them.
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