The Delhi government is planning to make public real-time air pollution levels in various parts of the city this winter.While real-time data is already available on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s website, it’s now working on placing information boards at crowded places and areas prone to snarls.
The idea is to give a visual reminder to people about Delhi’s air pollution problem so that they make lifestyle changes like reducing private vehicle usage and curbing waste burning. “We all know the air is bad but people should also act on it. We think they will take proactive steps when they are reminded daily of the magnitude of the problem,“ Ashwani Kumar, secretary , environment department told TOI.
According to senior officials in the department, the proposal is now with the government. “We wanted to launch this before winter smog begins but it seems it will take longer. If we have the government’s approval this week we can put up boards by mid-January ,“ said an official.
Kumar said residents can appreciate the importance of lifestyle changes, like using public transport and not buying diesel vehicles when air quality falls.
Similar boards have been installed in Hong Kong and Paris. Hong Kong has them at Metro stations, markets and important public spaces.The administration also sends regular air pollution updates to schools so that children can be asked to take precautions. Paris, on the other hand, has a massive hot air balloon that tells you how good or bad the air is.The balloon’s colour changes depending on the oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter in the air.
Experts said the move could be effective. “ Air pollution data must be in the face.There should be a health advisory , too. The board should tell people what kind of precautions the ought to take,“ said Anumita Roychowdhury , head of Centre for Science and Environment’s Clean Air programme.
Source : TOI 28 Oct’2015