Air quality has become a matter of concern in urban Indian cities, like Kolkata and New Delhi, that suffer from hazardously high air quality index (AQI) consistently. To address this problem, administrations and consumers alike need to stay updated about the air conditions in real time. Rohit Bansal, founder, Purelogic Labs India, talks to Paromik Chakraborty of Electronics For You about how national air quality monitors, like their AQI India platform, can help us take the first step towards better health.
Q. What are the benefits of deploying large-scale air quality monitoring platforms like AQI India in the country?
A. Platforms like AQI India not only help everyone know the real-time AQI values but also let them be cautious about pollution trends of different locations. Along with detailed information on pollution parameters, including measurement of PM 2.5 and PM 10, these provide health advisories based on the AQI of a location. The platforms are accessible by anyone.
Q. What are the technical elements that enable this system?
A. AQI monitors are placed at more than 300 locations, spread across various states of the country. With the help of laser and light-scattering principles, sensors in the monitors convert the measured air quality data to a mass concentration for measuring fine air particulate matter like PM2.5 and PM 10 into micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m³). This gives the value of AQI. Data can be viewed over Web or using a mobile application.
Q. What kind of data does your system draw?
A. With the AQI monitors users can detect pollutants present in the air and their adverse effects on health. The monitors draw AQI levels along with data like PM 2.5, PM 10, temperature, humidity and noise pollution. Sensors also retrieve complex data with the help of cameras that visualise air pollutants of different forms like formaldehyde, nitrogen-dioxide, sulphur-dioxide, ozone, carbon-monoxide and carbon-dioxide. Users can check the cause and effect, and work to identify the specific source that will help them find ways to reduce pollution.
Q. Any existing case studies that show significant benefits of AQI India platform?
A. In a span of four months of installing more than 300 monitors across the country, AQI India platform has been successfully retrieving valuable information regarding various parameters of air pollution. During Diwali season, peak pollution was caused by burning of crackers that coincidentally collided with the crop-burning season in northern India. The platform was able to track down the AQI trend for the month of November 2018.
Recently, while the northern region of the country celebrated the festival of Lohri, with the help of our AQI outdoor pollution monitoring devices, we were able to chart a significant rise in AQI levels during the bonfire session and after the celebrations ended.
With the help of these values fetched from sensors, we generated deep learning data using colour codes and graphs, denoting the level of air quality in a specified location for our customers, allowing them to take precautions.
Q. How is AQI India platform different from other air quality monitoring solutions available today?
A. People in the country do not have in-depth knowledge about the various types of air pollutants that are found, even indoors. End users usually install indoor air quality monitors to combat this problem. AQI India not only measures pollution but also keeps track of its change over a period.
We are mapping the whole country, finding and understanding the sources of pollution, and coming up with ways to manage the damage it is causing to our lives.
Q. Who else can use this platform other than end users?
A. We are primarily focusing on creating awareness about air pollution and its adverse effects on human health. We want every level of user to learn more about pollution in the country. More specifically, we are planning to partner with various industries to provide them with real-time air quality monitoring solutions on a B2B level.
Q. Tell us about the app that you have launched for your platform.
A. With AQI India app, users can access air quality information from their mobiles directly. This can be used in different ways by different users. They can plan their outdoor activities and vacations in advance keeping in mind peak pollution seasons. Parents can ensure precaution for their children while going out. Athletes can be cautious about outdoor air situation. The elderly and those suffering from health and respiratory issues can also be warned.