Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is planning to use drones to monitor air quality, to obtain real-time data on ground level tailpipe emissions from vehicles.
A pilot project is currently being carried out in Andheri and will be implemented in other areas based on the results the project yields.
Vidyanand Modagare, joint director, MPCB, said this was the first time drones were being used to check the AQI and pollution levels in the city.
The experiment will determine the concentration of different pollutants close to the surface and identify the altitude at which vertical dispersion takes place.
“We will check 13 parameters with the help of drones and will collect data on air quality at different altitudes. Currently, drones are testing air quality within a 10km-radius, at an altitude of 2,000 metres,” said Modagare.
“For ambient air quality, we currently have little knowledge about site-specific concentration of pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxide etc and it is difficult to understand the rate of dispersion. This is why we have decided to use drones,” he added.
According to information from the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), on Wednesday, the Bandra-Kurla Complex recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 294, which comes under the ‘poor’ category, followed by Mazgaon at 199 (moderate) and Navi Mumbai recorded 317 (very poor) for the second consecutive day.
“At the moment, the wind speeds are low and there is mist in the morning, as a result of which the air quality is being affected,” said an expert.
An MPCB official said six more drones would be introduced in the city if the Andheri experiment is fruitful. Junctions at Andheri, Bandra, Sion, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Haji Ali will be continuously monitored for a month.
“We will be measuring AQI in Andheri for a month and check pollution at different altitudes. Based on these parameters, we will submit a report to the board,” he said.