Amidst concern over rising air pollution levels in Delhi, the government on Tuesday decided to provide daily updates on air quality in the city through a uniform and scientific validation process.
The Environment Ministry, which held a joint meeting of all related agencies today, said the new "unified" system is likely to be put in place in two weeks' time and will ensure dissemination of authentic air quality information of Delhi to the public at large.
At present, Delhi's air quality is being monitored by three different agencies - Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) - to meet specific requirements of their operations.
"It was decided that all the monitoring systems will follow a uniform scientific calibration protocol and validation process.
"Data for notified monitored parameters from all the monitoring stations will be seamlessly sent to CPCB for their analysis and authenticated air quality information will be communicated to DPCC on daily basis for further dissemination to public at large," an official statement said.
This comes after media reports suggested that the DPCC was allegedly rapped for releasing raw air quality data. The Union Environment Ministry also decided that DPCC's data would be validated by CPCB before it is released online, the reports suggested.
The joint meeting, chaired by Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, was attended by officials of Environment Ministry, CPCB, DPCC and IMD.
"A joint team drawing members from each organisation will be formed to evolve Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) and implement the same. This unified system, expected to be positioned in maximum two weeks' time, will ensure authentic air quality information of Delhi to the public at large," the statement said, adding that MoES-IITM/IMD will provide air quality forecast for Delhi.
NGOs working in this sector have been raising the issue of Delhi's air pollution off late and Greenpeace India has also claimed that an average day in Delhi would be considered a very bad-air day in Beijing, another city known for its worse air pollution.
Greenpeace India has also submitted a proposal to the Delhi government urging it to issue a health advisory for schools.
The green NGO, which has collated data from various studies to give perspective about Beijing and Delhi in terms of parameters of pollution and mitigation plans, had said Delhi's air pollution is worst than that of the Chinese capital and has called for stringent targets for industrial emissions and an action plan to protect citizens from air pollution.