West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi to develop an air quality monitoring system.
“We are going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IIT-Delhi for the project. There will be satellite-based monitoring on air quality soon in the state,” said WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra, on the sidelines of a workshop ‘Is Air Pollution Shortening Our Lives?’ held at Bhawanipur Education Society College on Monday.
Principal secretary of state Environment department P K Mishra and principal scientist and head of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Dr Deepanjan Majumdar were also present on the occasion.
It might be mentioned that the air quality in the city deteriorated to ‘poor’ after the Kali Puja, Diwali in 2019. The Air Quality Index (AQI) read 233 (PM 2.5) at air monitoring station of WBPCB at Rabindra Bharati University in north Kolkata the day after. AQI between 201 to 300 mark is categorised as ‘poor’ and ‘very unhealthy’ and can cause respiratory problems.
Kolkata generates 1,600 tonnes of construction and demolition (C and D) waste annually. In China and India, where there are much greater levels of pollution, bringing particulate concentrations down to the WHO guideline would increase average life expectancy by 2.9 and 4.3 years, respectively.
The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has developed a pollution control tool called Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) that tells its users about how much longer would they live if breathed cleaned air.
The tool will enable citizens and policymakers to know how particulate pollution is affecting the health of the people. “The AQLI converts particulate air pollution concentrations into their impact on life expectancy,” said Ashirbad Snehdip Raha, senior associate director, communications, EIPC.