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Monday, August 02, 2021

Low cost, sensor-based monitors effective in tracking air quality: Study

The sensors, which measure ambient air quality, feature real-time communication for data transmission of the air quality.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
June 19, 2021 1:32:29 am
While regulatory grade monitors that are currently in use could cost upward of Rs 20 lakh, these small sensors cost around Rs 60,000. (Unsplash/ Representational)

The 20 low-cost sensor-based air quality monitoring equipment developed by indigenous start-ups have shown an accuracy of nearly 85-90% compared to currently in use regulatory grade monitors, a seven-month pilot project conducted by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and Bloomberg Philanthropies has found.

The sensors, which measure ambient air quality, feature real-time communication for data transmission of the air quality.

These 20 sensors were among 40 low-cost sensors developed by four different start-ups and were deployed for the study between November 2020 and May 2021 in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) alongside MPCB’s 15 existing continuous (real-time) ambient air quality monitoring stations.

While regulatory grade monitors that are currently in use could cost upward of Rs 20 lakh, these small sensors cost around Rs 60,000.

The findings of the study were presented at a webinar on Friday with participants from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Forest and Climate Change, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Central and State Pollution Control Boards, technical experts, and civil society to discuss the way forward under the NCAP, which plans to expand the air quality monitoring network in the country.

Prof S N Tripathi, Head of Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Kanpur and National Coordinator, National Knowledge Network, NCAP said, “The future of air quality monitoring lies in a hybrid approach ..”

Sudhir Srivastava, Chairperson of MPCB, said, “We have about 100 monitors for the state’s large area and this is a patchy network … but we realise that the cost of regulatory grade sensors is a prohibiting factor. Through the study, we now have a lot of data and it enables us to compare it (data from low-cost sensors) with regulatory grade monitors.”

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