BENGALURU: One should try to avoid taking morning or evening walks in Whitefield’s Thubarahalli area. It’s surprising to know that the best walking hour with respect to the air quality is between 12 pm and 2 pm, according to Mapshalli — a not-for-profit organisation which has started a citizen-managed high density air quality monitoring network called AirCare.
Currently, the project is focused on Whitefield with a target of 10 air quality monitors. As of now they have installed four monitors that are reporting data. The live data is available at https://aircare.mapshalli.org. Interested residents can operate an external air quality monitor at their house or business. Each monitor costs `6,000.
Poor air quality is the leading cause of deaths in India. There is an insufficient number of government air quality monitoring stations and each station costs around `1 crore to install. Private air quality monitoring is expensive and has limited sharing of information with citizens.
“Poor air quality is a community problem and we need low cost air quality monitors in large numbers to accurately monitor air quality. We have sensors in Thubarahalli, Ramagundahalli, Palm Meadows before Columbia Asia Hospital and near Whitefield Police Station. Four individuals have expressed interest in buying the monitors and keeping it at their homes. Our goal is to analyse data and let the residents know about it so they can make informed decisions about their outdoor activities,” said Shiv Shankar, founder of Mapshalli.
The sensors are placed in those areas of the house where there is no effect of indoor pollution like steam from cooking or from a hot shower in the bathroom. “ We are placing sensors at levels where residents walk,” he added.