Quality! This is what everyone is looking for these days.
We all want good quality products, services and resources even for things that are not too important!
Why are we compromising with the quality of air? Air which is one of the basic and most important amenity for our survival!
A good quality air is free of pollution, clean and clear and to achieve good quality air is everyone’s responsibility and not a one man’s show.
Even the Government of India is doing its part.
It has set up a nationwide programme known as National Air Quality Monitoring (NAMP). Earlier, this programme was known as National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (NAAQM).
So, what is air quality monitoring?
Air quality monitoring is a process used to determine
- Existing quality of air
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of the control programmes and
- To identify areas in need of restoration.
How is air quality monitored in India?
Air quality in India is monitored under the programme of NAMP with the help of agencies like Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board, NEERI, Visvesvaraya Regional College of Engineering, University of Pune, KTHM College, Walchand Institute of Technology and Thane Municipal Corporation.
Air quality is monitored for 24 hours (4 hourly sampling for gaseous pollutants, 8 hourly for particulate matter) with a frequency of twice a week. These kind of services offered by environmental consultants like Perfect Pollucon Services.
Four pollutants have been identified for regular monitoring at all locations;
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
- Oxides of Nitrogen (NO2)
- Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM/PM10)
- Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
Additional parameters are being monitored in some metro-cities of country;
- Respirable lead
- Toxic trace metals
Besides these parameters, meteorological parameters are also incorporated;
- Wind speed
- Wind direction
- Relative humidity
Where is air quality monitoring carried?
Currently, there are 629 active stations in India. These stations are based in different cities and towns. The stations are based in such areas where air pollution already exists or is expected.
Depending upon the areas where industrial activity or activities which may create air pollution are carried, there will be an air quality monitoring station based to monitor the air.
Thus, number of air quality monitoring station will differ from each state/union territory.
Let’s have a look at recent air quality monitoring data captured by continuous monitoring stations.
Air quality monitoring data
The following data is based on one of the major parameter which has huge impact on human health and environment; PM 10.
According to NAAQS, permissible limits prescribed for Residential/Industrial/Other areas are;
- PM 10 – 60 µg/m3
Looking at the data, we can say that the PM 10 levels in almost all cities exceed the permissible limits. Thus, new control programme should be devised and enacted.
Air quality monitoring effects on environment
Air pollutants added in the atmosphere affects the environment in numerous ways. Acid rain, ozone depletion, climate change, forest damage are some of its effects.
Air quality monitoring if conducted aids in identification and measurement of pollutants in the environment and control programme devised reduces the pollution. Thus the entire process of air quality monitoring helps in reducing the risk of toxic effects of pollutants on environment.
If air quality monitoring is not carried, the pollution may rise to such levels it would make it difficult to survive.
How can we improve our air quality?
Improving air quality is community task. Simple actions taken by us will help to improve air quality and make it healthier for everyone.
So, here are some ways we can easily incorporate in our daily lives to improve air quality.
- Walk or use bicycle for shorter distances
- Conserve energy
- Upgrade to energy efficient products
- Avoid open burning
- Use renewable resources
Air quality monitoring is a powerful tool which provides an insight to the status of air and helps devise control programmes. Incorporation of it will help create one of the ways to restore the quality of air.
This Post is written by staff of Perfect Pollucon Services which is leading environmental consultant based out of Mumbai in India. They offer services in Environmental monitoring.