While India has taken some steps to address its serious air pollution problem, many believe that it hasn’t done enough, and without accurate data and forecasting systems, the battle against air pollution will prove to be futile.
One step towards changing this perception came earlier this week with The Hindu reporting that India will partner up with Finland and the United States to develop a new pollution forecast system.
As per the report, this system is expected to help forecast “particular matter (PM) levels, two days in advance and at a greater resolution” than the current system in place.
The current system that is based out of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, which runs the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), can forecast pollution trends (PM levels) in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune one day in advance.
With the Ministry of Earth Sciences acting as the nodal agency leading India’s efforts, the government hopes to have a system in place by the upcoming winter season.
Both the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Maryland-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are the respective government agencies working to develop this new system.
According to the report, the new system “will use a different modelling approach as well as computational techniques from what is employed in the SAFAR model.”
“SAFAR will continue to be the backbone [for pollution forecast] but this system, which will use a different method of analysis, and require our scientists to get special training, could provide a better resolution and make more accurate forecasts,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES, to The Hindu.
Last month, the Centre formulated a comprehensive plan to mitigate air pollution in 100 cities. Under its National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), the Central government in conjunction with their counterparts in the states have come up with specific targets and timelines to address this public health emergency. Cities under the NCAP include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, and Chandigarh, among others. Each city will have its own action plan.
While formulating the NCAP, the government identified significant sources of pollution across various sectors but singled out the transport, industry, residential, agriculture and power sectors as major contributors.
As per reports, the Centre is attempting to reduce the severity of air pollution by 35% in the next three years, and 50% in the next five years, across the 100 cities identified under the NCAP.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)