JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:08/11/2019

Latest News

Archive

Centre to ‘censor’ air quality data, experts fume


                                                                                                   The Times of India, New Delhi, 11th March, 2015

 Jayashree Nandi,

 NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday announced that all air quality data generated from monitoring systems run by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) will have to be sent to CPCB for "validation." The move has evoked sharp reactions from experts, who say real-time air quality data doesn't require any editing.

 

TOI has already reported about the government's attempt to "dress up" air pollution data, saying DPCC has drawn flak for releasing "raw" or "unedited" air quality data on its website.

 

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Union government said the data "will be seamlessly sent to CPCB for their analysis and authenticated air quality information will be communicated to DPCC on a daily basis for further dissemination to public at large".

 

It is not clear if the ministry will do away with the current process of releasing real-time data by DPCC and IMD but experts fear such a process may delay information dissemination and leave scope for manipulation of data. In order to provide authentic air quality information to people of Delhi, a joint meeting of MoES, MoEF, CPCB, DPCC and IMD was held on March 10, the release said.

 

"All monitoring systems will follow a uniform scientific calibration protocol and validation process. A joint team drawing members from each organization will be formed to evolve standard operating procedures and implement the same. This unified system, expected to be in place in maximum two weeks' time, will ensure authentic air quality information of Delhi to public at large," the statement said.

 

Experts, however, claim air quality monitoring equipment are usually auto-calibrated or calibrated by scientists at the monitoring station. "What is important is that data comes out on time, people have the data in real time and the equipment is properly calibrated. The data then goes online automatically, revalidating is not required," said Sarath Guttikunda, director, Urbanemissions.info.

 

In the US too, real-time data is issued instantly while backend quality checks continue. "In the US, monitoring agencies typically release provisional data on a real-time basis in order to keep the public informed. Official data are then released later after technical staff are able to certify the raw measurements. This approach allows for sensitive members of the public like asthmatics, children and the elderly to protect themselves against air pollution," said Joshua Apte, a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory. Apte has been tracking pollution levels at traffic-heavy locations in Delhi as part of his research.

 

"There is certainly no need for any additional validation by CPCB. Monitoring agencies—both state and others are already on the job. Moreover most of these equipments are highly sophisticated and auto-calibrated. Validating by another agency will only delay data release," added a government scientist. DPCC had stopped updating air quality data on its website on Monday but started releasing data on Tuesday after there were several enquiries on why the system wasn't functioning.

 

"It's important for DPCC to see that their equipment is calibrated, data is available on a daily basis for all stations. What does CPCB mean by editing data? Their objective is not clear. It's worrying and confusing at the same time," said Aishwarya Madineni, campaigner, Greenpeace.

 

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Centre-to-censor-air-quality-data-experts-fume/articleshow/46522756.cms