Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: SAFAR and Air Quality Early Warning System
Mains level: Problem of Air Pollution in Delhi and its adjacent areas and measures for its mitigation
- Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
- The giant true colour LED display gives out real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance forecast.
- The system will be an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi and will strengthen the existing air quality network of SAFAR.
- The system, first of its kind in the country, was developed indigenously in record time by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
LED Display of advisories
- Based on the Air Quality Index on a particular day, Health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare citizens well in advance.
- It will also measure the sun’s UV-Index and will provide a measurement of online automatic ultrafine particles PM1 and Mercury, both of which have direct relevance to human health.
- Based on UVI, skin advisories will be issued on display.
Benefits of the Early Warning System
- According to a preliminary economic assessment of the benefits of the system, if 5% of people suffering from air-pollution related diseases take advantage of the advisories and precautions in Delhi alone, it would result in a saving of nearly Rs. 2,500 crores in terms of health-related cost benefit.
- It will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes.
- It will also lead to a better understanding of linkages among emissions, weather, pollution and climate by monitoring all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
- In addition to regular air quality parameters like PM2.5, PM10, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, the system will also monitor the existence of Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.
- Besides health, SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors like agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management skill, tourism and many others, which directly or indirectly get affected by air quality and weather.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)
- Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India, has introduced a major national initiative “SAFAR” for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location-specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance for the first time in India
- It was started under the plan scheme “Metropolitan Advisories for Cities for Sports, Tourism (Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather Services)
- The SAFAR system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF)
- The implementation of SAFAR is done with an active collaboration with local municipal corporations and various local educational institutions and governmental agencies in that Metro city.
- It was started on a Pilot basis in the cities of Pune, Ahmadabad, New Delhi and Mumbai