The Council for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining territories will draw on the technical and academic expertise of prominent scientific institutions to address air pollution, while approving seven projects to address different aspects and concerns of the region. pollution source. CAQM said the projects involved the use of artificial intelligence, drones and the development of decision support system (DSS) tools for neighbouring NCR towns.
The first project looks at vehicle counting using artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop emissions inventories. This will also help in assessing the density of traffic on different roads. “Vehicle counting will be done by uploading footage from CCTV cameras to a cloud platform developed by CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur. This will help to prepare the air with the help of the number of vehicles in the city center pollution discharge inventory,” CAQM said in a statement on Thursday.
The second project, also awarded to CSIR-NEERI, looks at tackling road dust resuspension caused by vehicular traffic with the help of a Science and Technology (S&T) based action plan. The third project is the Autonomous Drone Swarm Framework, which will allow real-time air quality monitoring and pollution quantification in hotspots in NCR. The project will be executed by Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala, Punjab.
“The goal of this project is to develop an artificial intelligence-based technology that allows drones to fly on designated trajectories for real-time monitoring of air quality, especially pollutants such as SO2, NO2, PM2.5 and PM10, with minimal human intervention. monitoring. These data will help to extract precise information about ground-level pollutant concentrations, as well as spatial, temporal, altitude, and seasonal variations in pollutant concentrations in specific areas,” CAQM said.
While the Decision Support System (DSS) developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has been used to analyse pollution sources in Delhi, CAQM has now approved the development of similar tools for neighbouring areas Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Gautam Budh Nagar, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Baghpat and Rohtak.
Other projects awarded and approved include an ambient air purification system developed by SASTRA University, Thanjavur. The project claims to reduce the air quality index in an area by 25-50% and will be tested in busy markets.
The IIT Delhi project “Filterless Air Filter Retrofit for Under-Driven Rolling Stocks and Vehicles” is also one of seven projects. According to documents submitted to CAQM, the project aims to reduce emissions by using filterless air purifiers on buses in Delhi.
CAQM has also approved an evaluation program that tests modified two- and three-wheelers.
“These projects are designed to develop better air quality monitoring capabilities and demonstrate solutions and technologies that can be implemented in the field,” a CAQM official said, adding that they will help the council strengthen its fight against air pollution in the NCR.
“Specific time limits and budget allocations have also been set for each project to be implemented to identify and address issues surrounding NCR air quality,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Dipankar Saha, former head of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Air Laboratory, said that while all these projects may be beneficial in the long run, previous ambient air quality monitoring systems have shown little improvement in the AQI. “The most important project is to assess vehicle emissions inventories and assess the carrying capacity of vehicles on each road. This will help develop several measures for the transport sector, but we need to stop investing in technologies involving outdoor air purification,” he said.
However, Pratima Singh, a senior research scientist at the Centre for Science, Technology and Policy Research (CSTEP) Air Pollution Research Centre, said most projects consisted of monitoring equipment and did not focus on emissions control. “Easy targets such as waste incineration could also be addressed,” she added.