KOCHI: The next time you are on MG Road, take a look at the big screen installed at Seematti. No, there won't be any advertisements. Instead, you will see real-time levels of the various gases and particulates you are breathing in.On Wednesday, the new Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (AAQMS) of Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) became operational at MG Road. The third station of its kind in the city – Vyttila and Eloor have one each – the new AAQMS was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan via video-conferencing from Thiruvananthapuram. Pinarayi also inaugurated an AAQMS at Kozhikode. The stations cost around `1 crore each and work 24/7, displaying real-time data on the areas' air quality.
“The AAQMS can measure air pollutant components, including nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and ozone. It can also detect meteorological parameters like rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind speed and pressure,” said M A Baiju, Chief Environment Engineer, KSPCB, which is tasked with the maintenance of all the stations.
The new system will enable KSPCB to detect pollution levels and air quality in the heart of Kochi. There are reports the pollution level is rising each year as vehicle density is increasing in the city. Baiju said the KSPCB has proposals to install a similar air quality monitoring station in Kalamassery. “Another AAQMS can be set up at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kaloor where cricket and footballs matches are held,” he said. In fact, KSPCB had made all preparations to install a temporary AAQMS at the stadium during the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
When FIFA conducted a study on the air quality and pollution near the stadium it was found the pollution level in the area was under control. Considering the security arrangements, the idea was dropped. An officer said FIFA itself decided not to go ahead with the project.In Vyttila, the AAQMS was installed as the number of vehicles plying in the area was very high. In Eloor, the system was installed as the area houses several industrial units.