Air Quality Monitoring
Air pollution is a serious social problem, especially in major cities. To understand the gravity of air pollution problems, a System of Air Quality forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was set up by the Ministry. It provides location specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 24 hours in advance. Monitoring and forecasting by SAFAR is done for major gaseous pollutants including ozone, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, benzene and other hydrocarbons as well as the particulate matters (PM) of two different sizes — as PM-10 and PM-2.5. The forecast of five pollutants is displayed in terms of Air Quality Index (AQI) at a scale of 0-500. In June 2015, the SAFAR system was set up in Mumbai city. With this, the cities of New Delhi, Pune and Mumbai are covered under this programme. The fourth SAFAR system at Ahmedabad has been commissioned recently. The advantage of this system is the capability of predicting air quality during next 2-3 days in addition to real-time monitoring of air quality. During the large Smog event that engulfed the city of Delhi in early November 2016, the SAFAR system provided very valuable information and forecasts of air quality.