CHENNAI: Taking serious its fight against pollution, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board is setting up 25 continuous air quality monitoring stations across Chennai, the largest such network in any city in the country. In this effort, the board has enlisted the support of top educational institutions, which will maintain these stations, known as CAMS, record the readings, analyse and suggest recommendations on improving air quality periodically.
“We have begun the process of setting-up 25 CAMS to keep a close watch on air quality.
“Top educational institutions like IIT Madras, Anna University and Ramachandra University were chosen to maintain these stations. Tamil Nadu would be first State to have a large network of CAMS in the country,” said a top official in the board.
These monitoring stations would send the data on real-time basis and shared with health experts.
There is also a possibility of making air quality forecast, enabling authorities to evolve an action plan.
Currently, only a handful of cities have CAMs operational, with limited access to data real time. In most of the cities, compliance assessments are done manually under the National Ambient Monitoring Programme (NAMP) monitoring just three pollutants — particulates less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
In Chennai, the pollution control board operates eight manual ambient air quality monitoring stations, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has three and Central Pollution Control Board has three CAMS in IIT campus, Alandur and Manali.
In addition, there are 24 CAMS set-up by industries in Manali and Gummidipoodi areas from where data would be sent to TNPCB, said an official.
“If everything goes according to plan, we will know lot more about the air we are breathing at different areas — rural, industrial, institutional,” the official added.