CAQM plans new technical tools to combat pollution
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjacent areas said Thursday that it will benefit from the technical and academic expertise of reputable scientific institutions to tackle the problem of air pollution, with the approval of seven projects to address various aspects and sources of pollution in the region. CAQM said the projects include the use of artificial intelligence and drones and the development of a Decision Support System (DSS) tool for neighboring NCR cities.
The first project looks at vehicle counting using artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to develop an emission list. This will also help in assessing the traffic density on different roads. “Vehicles will be counted by uploading footage from CCTV cameras to a cloud platform developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) CSIR in Nagpur. This will help in preparing an inventory of air pollution emissions with the help of vehicle counts for urban centers,” CAQM said in a statement on Thursday. .
A second project, also awarded to CSIR-NEERI, is looking at addressing road dust resuspension caused by traffic with the help of Science and Technology (S&T)-based Action Plans. The third project is an autonomous drone swarm framework, which will allow real-time monitoring of air quality and estimation of pollution in NCR hotspots. The project will be implemented by Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala, Punjab.
“The goal of the project is to develop an AI-based technology for flying drones on a defined path with minimal human intervention to monitor air quality in real time, specifically pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, PM2.5 and PM10. The data will be useful To extract information about the exact concentration of pollutants on the ground, and the spatio-temporal, altitudinal and seasonal variation of the concentration of pollutants in a given area,” the CAQM said.
While the Decision Support System (DSS) – developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) – is already in place to analyze pollution sources in Delhi, CAQM has now agreed to develop a similar tool for the neighboring districts of Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Gautambud Nagar, Jhaghar, Sonpat, Baghpat, and Rottak.
Other projects awarded and approved include an ambient air purification system developed by SASTRA University in Thanjavur. This project claims to reduce the air quality index by 25-50% in an area and will be tested in a crowded market.
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Project “Retrofit of Air Cleaner Without Filtration in Operation for Rollers and Vehicles” is also one of the seven projects. According to the report submitted to CAQM, the project aims to use unfiltered air cleaners on Delhi buses to reduce emissions.
CAQM has also approved an evaluation project that will test two- and three-wheeled modifications.
“The projects aim to develop better air quality monitoring capabilities and demonstrate field-implemented solutions and technologies,” said a CAQM official, adding that they would help the commission strengthen its air pollution control at NCR.
“Specific time limits and budget allocations have been established for each of the projects that will be undertaken to identify and resolve issues surrounding NCR’s air quality,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Dipankar Saha, former head of the Air Laboratory of the Central Pollution Control Authority (CPCB), said that while all of these projects could be beneficial in the long run, previous ambient air quality monitoring systems had shown little improvement in AQI. . The most important project is the assessment of the vehicle emissions inventory and the assessment of the carrying capacity of the vehicles on each road. This will help plan many actions for the transportation sector, but we need to stop investing in technology that includes outdoor air purification.”
The majority of the projects consisted of monitoring devices and did not focus on emissions control, said Pratima Singh, senior researcher at the Center for Air Pollution Studies at the Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP). “The hanging fruit could have been treated like waste incineration,” she added.
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