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Science

Delhi air pollution monitoring gets boost with new Decision Support System

delhi pollutionDelhi has historically struggled with poor air quality, especially during the winter months. (Reuters/File)

Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh recently launched a Decision Support System (DSS) integrated with the Air Quality Early Warning System for better air quality management in Delhi-NCR.

The DSS was developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, scientists after the Commission for Air Quality Management had said Delhi-NCR needed such a system.

The commission recently reviewed the system and gave its in-principle nod to the DSS. A separate website has also been launched for the DSS. The portal displays how emissions from Delhi and the 19 surrounding districts contributed to the National Capital’s air quality. It also shows how various sectors — industry, transport, construction, road dust, biomass burning, waste burning, and residential sources — contribute to the emission. The portal is mapping the contribution of eight such sectors on a graph.

The 19 districts from which the system is mapping data include Karnal, Jind, Rohtak, Bharatpur, Panipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Alwar, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, and Meerut. The system is expected to help make critical policy-level interventions to handle emission.

The portal can create scenarios and determine how air pollution would be affected if emissions from certain sectors were reduced.

Delhi has historically struggled with poor air quality, especially during the winter months, as smoke from burning stubble in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab reaches the National Capital and chokes the city’s air. Visibility also falls drastically during this period due to higher pollutants in the air.

The city regularly ranks near the top in lists for most-polluted cities. Despite several interventions by the state government, including the odd-even formula for vehicles, the city’s air quality continues to decline during the winter months. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has recently called on the public to not use their vehicles one day of the week, while the state government has installed air purifiers along the lines of Beijing at Connaught Place to reduce pollution.

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