The Army’s Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William will play an important role in monitoring the air quality in the city. On Monday, the sixth Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) was commissioned there in the presence of Lt Gen M M Naravane, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command and officials of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB). Kalyan Rudra, chairman, WBPCB, considered this an important development. The CAAQMS is special as it will be the ‘control station’ and its readings will be considered a benchmark of quality.
“This is a good partnership between the Army and the government. The system costs over Rs 1 crore and is a good example of how we should be working together for the betterment of the environment. We started a ‘Go Green’ campaign in April and the commissioning of CAAQMS is part of the initiative. We also planted nearly 1,000 saplings since April and are waiting for the monsoons to plant a similar number not only within the garrison but also in the Maidan,” said Lt Gen Naravane.
The CAAQMS measures pollutants such as SO2, NO, NO2, NH3, CO, O3, VOC and particulate matters (PM 10 and PM 2.5) continuously throughout the year. Besides, wind speed, wind direction, vertical wind speed, ambient temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, barometric pressure and quantity of rain can also be measured round the clock.
The measured data can be remotely monitored and exported in various formats to the authorities. The data can be published via the Internet for public awareness.
“We have 17 manual stations and five continuous ones (apart from the station commissioned on Monday). The other CAAQMS installations are at the Administrative Training Institute in Salt Lake, Indian Institute of Cultivation of Science, Rabindra Sarobar, Birla Industrial and Technological Museum and Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Belur. The system at Fort William is a control station that will monitor air quality at an ‘ideal situation’ as the Maidan area is nearby. Data from other locations will be compared with the figures from Fort William for analysis. The Army, through its ‘Go Green’ initiative has made a commitment to work for the environment. We have also given them some further advice to improve the situation,” Rudra said.
According to the Eastern Army commander, initiatives have already been taken to reduce the consumption of electricity as well as conserve water and segregate waste at Fort William. “Between March 2018 and March 2019, we have saved Rs 20 lakh in electricity bills. Between April and May this year, electricity bills came down by Rs 3 lakh through individual efforts like switching off lights and fans when not in use. We have succeeded in involving the entire community. We have also distributed nearly 100 sets of dustbins in the garrison for segregation of waste and are educating people continuously,” Naravane added.
Source: Times of India