The government on Wednesday announced harmonising air quality monitoring system in Delhi even as members of the Rajya Sabha expressed concern over rising air pollution in the national capital.
Congress member Sanjay Singh raised concern over high air pollution in the national capital region (NCR) saying that many countries have reduced tenure of their diplomats due to the bad air quality.
He also quoted a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to say that Delhi was the topmost among 16 most polluted cities in the country and added that the air in Delhi had the maximum amount of chemicals like nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, benzene and carbon monoxide.
Maintaining that the CPCB data "rings an alarm bell" for Delhi, Singh said a number of countries have issued guidelines for their diplomats living in Delhi on how they can protect themselves from it.
“So much so that US, Germany and Japan have even reduced the tenure of their diplomats in Delhi from three years to two years. Many embassies have installed air purifiers in their offices and residences of their diplomats to monitor air quality. This is a dangerous situation and if action is not taken in time, it could turn worse,” Singh said.
A government statement on Wednesday said that environment ministry with earth sciences ministry has put in place a unified system of air quality monitoring in Delhi to ensure authenticated air quality information to the public at large.
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for data validation, analysis and dissemination will be followed by CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
“Data from monitoring stations of CPCB, DPCC and IMD, after performing basic data quality checks at monitoring station level itself using in-built software, would be transmitted to CPCB every hour through an automated system,” the statement said, adding that the validation will be done through an automated system at CPCB.
In addition, the CPCB would further analyse the data from all the monitoring stations on daily basis. Analysis would include average and range of air pollution levels, exceedance from respective notified standards and overall city air quality for various parameters along with possible explanations. Such analysed data would be available for the previous day.
The statement said that this system is at par with international practices.