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Biodiversity & Environment


  • 29 Nov 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecast and Research) has studied post Diwali Air Pollution in the four Indian Cities (Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune).

  • Air pollution during the Diwali period in 2021 was higher compared to 2020 in the three metropolitan cities of Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, whereas Pune was the only city among the four which had lower pollution levels.
  • High PM in Delhi during the Diwali period is due to high local emissions, combined with the biomass burning effect.

Key Point

  • About:
    • SAFAR is a national initiative introduced by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to measure the air quality of a metropolitan city, by measuring the overall pollution level and the location-specific air quality of the city.
    • It is an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi.
    • It monitors all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction, UV radiation, and solar radiation.
    • The World Meteorological Organization has recognized SAFAR as a prototype activity on the basis of the high-quality control and standards maintained in its implementation.
  • Pollutants Monitored:
    • PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, and Mercury.
  • Developed By:
    • The system is indigenously developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and is operationalized by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
      • IITM has a giant true color LED (Light Emitting Diode) display that gives out a real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) on a 24x7 basis with color-coding (along with 72 hours advance forecast).
  • Objectives:
    • To increase awareness among the general public regarding the air quality in their city so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken up.
    • To help the policy-makers develop mitigation strategies keeping in mind the nation’s economic development.
  • Significance:

Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • It is an index for reporting daily air quality. It displays the changes in air pollution in the atmosphere.
  • It focuses on health effects one might experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
  • AQI keeps a tab on 8 major air pollutants in the atmosphere namely,
    • Ground-level ozone,
    • PM10,
    • PM2.5,
    • Carbon monoxide,
    • Sulfur dioxide,
    • Nitrogen dioxide,
    • Ammonia,
    • Lead,
  • Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in India.

Source: DTE

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