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Poles to monitor air quality in New Delhi

Real-time tracking sensors will measure level of particulates in the national capital.

Updated: Sep 03, 2018 08:24:48

New Delhi has 21 such sensors on smart poles, installed over the last two months. (HT FILE PHOTO)

Delhi will get at least 47 new air pollution monitoring sensors by the end of September this year. To be installed on smart poles across New Delhi by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), these low cost real-time sensors will keep a track of the pollution levels in the area. So far, New Delhi has 21 such sensors – installed on the smart poles over the last two months.

According to a NDMC official, these air quality sensors will check PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO levels, besides the temperature and humidity and send the entire the information live to the council app – NDMC311.

Speaking of the initiative, NDMC chairperson Naresh Kumar said, “The general public will be able to assess the information through the app and can, accordingly, avoid polluted stretches. Of the total of 68, 21 smart poles with sensors have already been installed near Khan Market, RML Hospital, Sardar Patel Chowk, Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Connaught Place. The other smart poles, wherein the sensors will be set up, will be installed near AIIMS, Chanakyapuri and Moti Bagh soon. We are expecting to complete the work by next month.”

Maintaining that the air quality sensor that are being installed have been approved and set up as per the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) standards, Kumar said, “Already, 21 sensors have been made functional. These sensors are providing live updates. Since the city is reeling under massive levels of air pollution, this facility will help in monitoring so that proper action can be taken to curb pollution.”



The project, taken up under the Centre’s smart city mission, aims to simplify access to public services for the residents of the city. Besides monitoring pollution levels, these smart poles also have provisions for LEDs, Wi-Fi access points and CCTV cameras with a recording capacity of at least 30 days.

An NDMC official said, “These poles are at least 9 metre to 12 metre in height and are made of stainless steel. The Wi-Fi facility is already available at the 13 poles installed in the Inner Circle of Connaught Place.”

Experts have said that such low cost real-time sensors are key to curb air pollution in the future as, at present, almost 60 per cent of the country’s urban areas and the entire rural belt are off the radar of the monitoring network.

Addressing a workshop on low cost sensors earlier this week, Arun Kumar Mehta, additional secretary (MoEF), had said, “We need data, which are workable even though it may not be 100% accurate. Low cost real-time sensors can achieve this. We need to expand our monitoring network to check pollution levels in smaller towns and rural areas. This can’t be done only with sensors that can give accurate data but are very expensive.”

However, D Saha, former head of the air quality laboratory at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said these sensors are not accurate and give indicative values. “Though they cost less in comparison to conventional air quality monitoring stations, they give indicative values. The sensors inside the poles cost about Rs 2 lakh while those at the conventional monitoring stations cost Rs 70 lakh. Their lifespan is just 12 months unlike conventional monitoring stations, which work fine for 3-10 years,” he said.

First Published: Sep 03, 2018 01:10:25

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