Pollution source info in Delhi may restart next week | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Pollution source info in Delhi may restart next week

Oct 28, 2023 05:54 AM IST

The two models had temporarily stopped sharing data on air pollution for the country as there were differences between their forecasts and source contribution

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) on Friday said it will resume sharing data on the sources of pollution impacting Delhi’s air quality from next week, and that information from the two mechanisms it is involved in — the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (Safar) and the Decision Support System (DSS) — will be combined from now.

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The two models had temporarily stopped sharing data on air pollution for the country as there were differences between their forecasts and source contribution, the institute said, after criticism from experts that the lack of information was hampering Delhi’s attempts to tackle air pollution at a crucial time.

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“Two sources of air-quality forecasts were being generated for Delhi-NCR from IITM based on the Safar and Air Quality Early Warning System & Decision Support System. There were differences in the forecasts between the systems, particularly about the contribution of stubble burning. Additionally, it was noted that there were also differences in the grading of air quality categories between the two systems,” said an IITM spokesperson, asking not to be named.

The data will be published on the IITM website, this person said, adding that the data publishing will resume in the next week.

“This matter was discussed among the scientists at IITM, IMD (India Meteorological Department) and MoES (ministry of earth sciences). Based on the discussions, it was agreed that a single source of air quality information should be made available to the general public from the IITM website. Presently, the scientists from IITM, IMD and MoES are working to resolve this issue in the next two to three days,” the spokesperson added.

The development came a day after HT reported that three data streams that could estimate and project what is polluting the Capital on a given day — Safar, DSS and R-Aasman — have been offline, leaving the city virtually blindfolded in its battle against bad air this season.

The status of the third data portal and the Delhi government’s own model, R-Aasman, continued to remain unclear on Friday after Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said they were not getting real-time source apportionment data from the portal since October 18 because it was halted by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). Rai said DPCC’s chairman, Ashwani Kumar, had refused to release funds up to 2 crore to IIT Kanpur, which developed the forecasting system.

Before it was put behind a lock on Tuesday, the DSS last issued an update on Sunday. Safar, which last shared an estimate on stubble burning on October 13, began sharing data this season from October 11.

Data from the three models becomes particularly important during the winter season when farmers mostly in Punjab and Haryana set paddy remnants on fire as a cheap and quick way to clear their fields. This subsequently triggers the worst pre-winter air quality crisis in the Capital.

Data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, which collates farm fire data from states, showed Punjab recorded its highest single-day count of the season on Friday, with 766 farm fires via Nasa’s satellite imagery. Haryana meanwhile recorded 67 fires —same as Thursday’s count. The previous highest for Punjab had been 589 fires, which was recorded a day earlier. For Haryana, the highest single-day count of the season came on October 15 (127 fires).

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