Rs 15-crore plan to predict air quality, rate UVR dose approved

In a first for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, a Rs 15-crore project has been sanctioned in the 12th five-year plan to predict air quality and rate the intensity level of ultra violet radiation dose on a scale of 1-10.

The entire project of setting up such a system to provide accurate air quality information received a boost when the 12th five-year plan approved Rs 90 crore for it. It will be rolled out by the year-end in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Later, it will be set up in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Dr Gufran Beig, programme director, SAFAR, who was in New Delhi for the launch of a SAFAR-Puneri Air' — an illustrative book written for the common man — told The Indian Express that SAFAR is being developed and implemented by city-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Pune is going to be the second city after Delhi to get the prediction system in India.

People can access air quality forecasts via web portal or by calling SAFAR air quality information Integrated Voice Response Service (IVRS) toll-free number. Scientific air-quality information of SAFAR-Pune in near real time will also be available on public display systems. Ten locations have been finalised for Air Quality and Weather Monitoring Stations in PMC and PCMC and walkway shelter to install automatic and highly sensitive optical analysers are already in place in many stations, said Dr Dilip Chate, who is coordinating the field network. The 10 locations are at Bhosari (Growth lab,PCMC), Nigdi Pradhikaran (Jal Shudhikaran Kendra, PCMC), Alandi (MIT), Pashan, (IITM), Shivajinagar, (Shimla Office), Dhankawadi, ( Bharati Vidyapeeth), Hadapsar (Lohiya Udyan, PMC), Manjari (VSI), Lohegaon ( Pune Airport ), Girinagar (DIAT).

The system will provide the level of several toxic pollutants, including mercury, which has been added in the system for the first time. Plans are afoot to install all the instruments within a month and start collecting data in the next two months.

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