West Bengal will become the first state in India to use real-time satellite data for round-the-clock air quality management. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) and scientists from Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA) to manage air quality in Kolkata and seven other cities in the state.
The MoU was signed earlier last week at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-Delhi).
According to a report by Hindustan Times, Kolkata, Howrah, Barrackpore, Haldia, Durgapur, Asansol are among the 122 non-attainment cities in the country listed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The cities do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and need to emphasise on several aspects to deal with high air pollution.
Coordinator of CERCA and associate professor at IIT-Delhi, Sagnik Dey, said so far satellite data has been used by scientists for research, the findings of which have often been used by several state pollution control boards for air quality management.
"This is for the first time that real-time satellite data would be used for air quality management in cities on a day-to-day basis," Dey was quoted as saying.
Chairman of WBPCB Kalyan Rudra said that GIS-based air quality management system would first begin with Kolkata and gradually it will be included in all eight cities in phases. The state pollution control board will soon have a separate GIS laboratory for the system.
The report mentioned senior officials of WBPCB saying that satellite data would identify hotspots in the cities, sources of pollution, find out the peak pollution periods and control air quality round-the-clock.
Along with these, satellite data would also be used to spot encroachment in the wetlands and garbage dumping.
The staff of WBPCB would be trained by CERCA-scientists to manage the system.
Union Environment Ministry in January last year had launched the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) with a target of bringing down the concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 particles by at 20 per cent in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year.