Geospatial artificial intelligence and machine learning-based models will soon be used to monitor air quality in major Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata, a senior scientist said on Thursday.
Highlighting the growing use of mathematical modeling tools in India, ISRO Chairman Professor PG Diwakar at the National Institute of Advanced Studies stressed on the importance of linking the Sustainable Development Goals and air pollution indicators.
Diwakar was speaking at the India Clean Air Summit (ICAS) 2023 organized by the Center for Air Pollution Studies (CAPS) at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) in Bengaluru.
“We need to link the SDGs and air pollution indicators, as highlighted by the United Nations 2030 Agenda, especially SDG 3.9 (which deals with mortality from environmental pollution as per the 2030 SDG Agenda) and 11.6 (which deals with sustainable cities and communities) in context),” Diwakar said.
“Using geospatial technology, we need to establish well-distributed ground observation points to measure pollution parameters in-situ, integrating them with space data for accurate modelling,” he said.
The senior scientist elaborated on how geospatial approach and space-ground observation are essential for accurate pollution estimation. The approach uses aerosol optical depth (AOD) data obtained from satellite sources such as INSAT-3D/3DR, MODIs along with weather data.
The scientist said, “We need to bring weather data into the modeling framework such as wind speed, wind direction, surface air pressure, temperature, humidity, etc., which play a major role as part of the model. “
Such data can be well integrated into numerical models for forecasting and assessment, he added. “These have been tested for Bengaluru and very good results have been observed,” Diwakar said.
Diwakar expressed confidence in the model’s potential and its extension beyond air pollution to address broader SDGs such as water pollution and electromagnetic radiation.
Speaking at the event, V Faye McNeil of Columbia University acknowledged India’s progress towards cleaner air, pointing to significant progress in air pollution monitoring and control measures since 2016. He appreciated initiatives like National Clean Air Program (NCAP) and neighborhood level monitoring. ,
Selvi PK, Scientist, Central Pollution Control Board, highlighted the importance of aligning with NCAP to reduce PM2.5 and PM10 by 30-40 per cent by 2026.
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