Air is the prime resource for the sustenance of life on earth. The very existence of life on the earth is because there exists an atmosphere. All types of vegetation and creatures including human beings thrive in the atmosphere in one form or another. For example, human beings need a continuous supply of air almost at the rate of 10-20 cubic meters per day. It can easily be conceived that air not suitable for breathing can make people sick.
The air pollution problem can be depicted as a system consisting of three basic components:
(i) emission sources;
(ii) Transport through atmospheric processes
Receptors receive the harmful impacts of air pollution. The impact on receptors (living entities of the physical environment) can be from short-term to life-threatening and economic losses.
The ultimate aim of air quality officials is to provide an answer to the question: what are the optimum ways to prevent/minimize the impact of air pollution on the receptor? This can be accomplished by air quality modelling and management.
In the simplest term, air quality modelling is a systematic approach that attempts to link the source emission strength (i.e., emission rate) through atmospheric processes to assess the extent of the impact on the receptors.
The air pollution problem is complex due to the multiplicity of the air-polluting source mix, automobiles, generators, domestic fuel burning, roadside dust, construction activities, etc., which co-exist with industries. Understanding the pollution sources requires the identification and contribution of the sources at breathing levels in space and time.
To identify and apportion the source contributions, air quality sampling devices collect several hours of integrated average samples and sent them off to the laboratory for analysis which is a time-consuming and labour-intensive way and takes a long time.
The new state-of-the-art techniques can provide the chemical composition of PM2.5 almost instantly and render the contribution of sources and help in quick decision-making for the timely control of air pollutant emissions.
DPCC signed MoU with the IIT Kanpur-lead consortium on October 20, 2021, to develop a state-of-the-art stationary air quality monitoring station i.e., supersite with the objective of real-time source apportionment and establish a reliable air quality forecasting system with source apportionment for next few days for public dissemination and improvements in air quality.
The supersite will provide weekly, monthly and seasonal interpretation of air quality and sources with trajectory and source apportionment analysis and suggest a higher level of control at major sources. The other component of the project is to develop a state-of-the-art mobile air quality laboratory for source apportionment at multiple locations for the weekly interpretation of air quality, and source apportionment, and further strengthen actions at local and far distant sources.
All the instruments required for real-time source apportionment are installed, calibrated, and running at supersite. The offline instruments are also calibrated and running.