Now Chennaiites can dial the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to bring a mobile air sampler to measure the quality of air.
The city’s air pollution status was based on samples collected from a four or five places in Chennai. But with mobile monitors, all neighbourhoods can know their pollution levels. The board has procured six movable high volume air samplers, producing accurate pollution data from anywhere in the city. TNPCB spent around 1 crore on the six pieces.
TNPCB chairman D Karthikeyan said the new air pollution monitors will be deployed in different locations on a rotational basis. “Communities who suspect higher pollution levels can approach us to check levels in their neighbourhoods,” he said.
Senior Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials said these monitors will help experts broadcast more accurate data. “Air pollution, intensity of surface dust and other pollutants of vehicular emission will be checked at regular intervals,” said a CPCB official. These monitors are designed to measure the respirable suspended particulate matter ( RSPM) in the atmosphere.
In high volume air samplers, glass fibre filter papers filter the air. Pollutants, both carbonic particles from vehicular emission and surface dust, leave marks on the papers. After eight hours, the weight of the paper filters increases due to pollutants. Accurate pollution intensity is assessed by the quantity of air passed through the paper and the weight difference of the glass filter paper before and after the test.
TNPCB monitors will be running eight hour shifts, and data from three shifts will decide the day’s average pollution data. A glass filter paper weighing less than three grams costs around 100. TNPCB currently monitors air pollution at five locations using fixed monitors.