Ambient air quality feature ‘disabled’ from MPCB’s info website

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Nov 2018 09:11:15


Staff Reporter,

Data will be uploaded soon, says V M Motghare, MPCB’s Joint Director (Air)

Even as efforts are being made under the Star Rating programme of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to make information available in live data mode to the people, a feature relating to live updates on ambient air quality has been ‘disabled’ since past few days.

In fact, the feature was displayed on the website for a very short span of time. Ambient air quality monitoring data was added to MPCB’s website under its Star Rating programme, adding more teeth to the platform. The said feature enabled citizens to see Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels in different monitoring stations in urban centres giving them a sense of quality of the air they breathe. However, it went ‘missing’ some days ago.

When ‘The Hitavada’ pointed it out to V M Motghare, Joint Director (Air) of MPCB, he said that the feature must have been enabled ‘on a trial basis’. Considering the need for live updates on air quality especially during the festive season of Diwali, he said that the data would be uploaded soon.

According to sources, who wished to be unnamed, MPCB’s Star Rating programme has been running for over a year now with ‘limited’ success. The first-of-its-kind initiative is seen as a game-changer as common citizens are now able to access industrial pollution data (particulate matter emissions only) in a simple understandable format. The Star Rating programme rates industries on the basis of their Particulate Matter emissions -- more the emissions lesser the star rating and vice-versa. The said data is available on MPCB’s Star Rating website for quite some time now. Taking the air quality transparency initiative a step further, the feature regarding air quality monitoring also was enabled on the said website for a short duration.


Data on another website of MPCB not up-to-date
Meanwhile, the results for ambient air quality monitoring in Nagpur city were available on MPCB website, but the data was not up-to-date. Search for the period from October 4 to November 4 revealed surprising results.
The data available on Sunday (November 4) was till Thursday (November 1) for the Air Quality Station (AQS) at MPCB’s Regional Office premises. Interestingly, the data was not uploaded despite the fact that November 2 and November 3 were working days.

For the AQS at Divisional Commissioner office premises, the website showed ‘No data available’ despite the fact that the AQS was ‘in operation’. For the AQS at the terrace of The Institution of Engineers and MIDC Office in Hingna, the concentration of air pollutants was available for only seven days. Surprisingly, the data for seven days also dated back to August! The AQS at Government Polytechnic College, Sadar, showed data for only two days -- October 25 and October 27.

While the data of air quality monitoring is not up-to-date on, the feature regarding ambient air quality monitoring on the Star Rating website has gone ‘missing’ even after introduction of the feature some days ago. And, this has happened right ahead of the festive season of Diwali, during which the agencies are supposed to keep a close watch on air quality, especially in the wake of the recent directives of the Supreme Court.