It will soon be possible to plan one’s travel route and know the quality of air in the city before stepping out of the home, with just a tap on one’s cell phone. In a first, a mobile app has been developed to provide current air quality as well as one to three-day forecast for air quality and related health advisories.
The app, developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), providing air quality information for Delhi and Pune will be launched on Tuesday. Mumbaikars can avail the “System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)-Air” app by April. On a scale of ‘good’ to ‘critical’, the app will indicate the city’s air quality status.
If the air quality is ‘very poor’, an advisory stating ‘people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and adults should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion’ will follow.
For Mumbai, information will be collated from the air quality monitoring stations and numerous automatic weather stations that are being set up in the city under the SAFAR project.
“The advantage of the system product is that it will give complicated scientific information in simple terms and also provide air quality index. The display boards in the city will also provide UV index, skin advisory and dynamic city pollution maps,” says Dr Gufran Beig, programme director of SAFAR.
For instance, harmful gases are discharged from vehicles, industries, slums and get stagnated in a humid region like Mumbai. Our app would help people identify the most polluted and less polluted areas in Mumbai and take precautionary measures to protect themselves from harmful health effects,” Beig added.
Two air quality monitoring stations are currently being installed in Colaba and Bhandup, as well as 10 automatic weather stations in Borivali, Malad-Malvani, Bhandup, Warsova, Andheri, Sakinaka, Kurla, Dharavi, Mahim, Worli, Byculla, Colaba, Chembur, Mahul and Mankhurd. “We have chosen locations such that we could cover various micro environments such as residential, commercial, industrial, slums in the city and around 15 display boards across the city will showcase the same information,” said Beig.The digital display boards at traffic junctions in Mumbai will be in Marathi and English, and the integrated voice response service for air quality-related information, which is currently operational for Delhi and Pune (toll free number 18001801717), will also be available for Mumbai, once the monitoring stations are operational.