The process of setting up 18 new Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) has begun across 8 cities of Uttar Pradesh, by the UPPCB (Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board). Five of these air quality monitoring stations will come up in Agra, one each in Mathura and Firozabad, two each in Lucknow and Kanpur besides three each in Varanasi and Prayagraj. One station will also be set up in Gorakhpur. The development comes as air pollution across different north Indian states is at an all time high.
Commenting on the act, UPPCB regional officer (Prayagraj) Pradeep Kumar Vishwakarma said at present, the state has 25 Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations in 13 cities, including four each in Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Noida, three in Meerut, two in Greater Noida, besides one each in Agra, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Kanpur, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar and Varanasi.
All 18 new air quality monitoring stations would be set up on land provided by the UPPCB. Five of them would come up with funds provided by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and 10 from funds provided by the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
The one in Gorakhpur would be set up through the UPPCB's own resources, he said.
The UPPCB member-secretary, on behalf of the board, has already invited international bids for these high-end 24x7 monitoring stations, which would be connected to a data centre which will come up at the UPPCB headquarters in Lucknow and provide real-time data regarding the Air Quality Index (AQI) at any given moment.
Vishwakarma added that the plan was to award a single bidder the responsibility of "supply, installation and commissioning" of all 18 air quality monitoring stations in these eight cities.
They would have to depute one technician at each site to manage it besides a project officer and a data processor. The responsibility of managing these stations would be awarded to the bidder for a period of five years.
As part of the initiative, one daylight and night visible data display system will also be installed near the station to display air quality readings.
AQI is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.
There are six AQI categories, namely good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor and severe. Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts, known as health breakpoints.