The Indian city of Kolkata has taken a significant step forward by adopting an Air Quality Early Warning System (AQEWS), developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) based in Pune. This system offers both real-time air pollution data and forecasts, with the objective of enhancing readiness and facilitating measures to tackle the escalating air pollution levels within the city.
Real-time Monitoring and Predictions
The AQEWS in Kolkata comes equipped with an intricate network of sensors that monitor the air quality index (AQI) in real-time. This AQI is a standardized metric used to assess the level of air pollution in a specific area, with values ranging from 0 to 500. A higher AQI indicates more polluted air and an increased health concern.
The AQEWS provides this data by analyzing the concentration of pollutants like PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller), which has been identified as a major contributor to health problems due to its ability to penetrate deep into the lungs.
Critical Air Pollution Levels in Kolkata
The city of Kolkata has been grappling with critical levels of air pollution, mainly driven by pollutants such as PM2.5. According to the Air Quality Early Warning System (AQEWS), the city recorded an AQI of 74 in recent measurements, and it is projected to surpass 170 by August 30. Such forecasts underscore the urgency of addressing air pollution in Kolkata and highlight the role of early warning systems in driving effective interventions.
Data Integration and Prediction Accuracy
The Air Quality Early Warning System (AQEWS) leverages data from the national air quality network as well as satellite sources to generate accurate predictions. The system’s accuracy was demonstrated during its experimental phase, which began in September 2022. The early warning system’s integration of data from 420 air quality monitoring stations across India ensures a comprehensive and holistic approach to air quality assessment.
Key takeaways for competitive examinations
- Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change: Bhupender Yadav