NEW DELHI: The United States Embassy in India is planning to set up low-cost air-quality monitors and weather stations in educational institutions in selected second and third-tier cities, as well as rural areas, across north India to address the country's deteriorating air quality.
In late 2019, the US Mission had distributed 58 low-cost air-quality monitors and 14 weather stations to the Society for Indoor Environment, a Delhi-based NGO in a bid to work with Indian partners in improving India's air quality.
The air quality and weather data acquired from these devices will be used to analyse the trends of pollutants outside the major urban centres and build environmental awareness and capacity within smaller communities.
"We are very excited about the implementation of the low-cost monitor initiative in India. We are thrilled to partner with the Society for Indoor Environment and with host, institutions to help spread awareness on air quality and build capacity to monitor it in local areas," said Sameer Sheth, the Environment, Science, and Technology Unit Chief at the US Embassy.
Air quality monitoring sites that are generally located in large cities and smaller communities often lack awareness of the scale of air pollution, as well as remedial and preventive measures which further make people incompetent from protecting themselves from adverse environmental and health effects.
To build capacity within these communities, staff from each host institution will be trained in installing and handling the equipment, as well as collection, compilation, and analysis of all generated data, the Embassy said in a release.
At quarterly intervals, these data will be presented and discussed with local residents, helping spread awareness about the role of air quality monitoring, the importance of keeping the air clean, and the prevention of illnesses associated with air pollution, it added.
In describing the working relationship, Arun Sharma, president of the Society for Indoor Environment, said, "This project could only be implemented because of support from the US Embassy in Delhi."