Air Pollution Related Studies

DEVELOPMENT OF AIR QUALITY INDEX FOR DATA INTERPRETATION AND PUBLIC INFORMATION

Voluminous data on Air quality is being generated under various monitoring programs, but interpreting and understanding the vast data become tedious and confusing even to scientific and technical community. As for the general public, unless information is presented in simple and lucid settings, people tend to loose interest and can neither appreciate the problem nor the pollution mitigation efforts. With the intent that air quality information must reach people in easy to understand terms, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has developed an Air Quality Index (AQI) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur for easy understanding of Air Quality of a particular place/in a day/month/year for simpler way for the public and others. The index has been developed based on the dose-response relationship of various pollutants. The index is named as IND-AQI (Indian Air Quality Index). The developed index is classified in five categories: 0-100 (Good); 101-200 (Moderate); 201-300(Poor); 301-400(Very Poor); 401-500(Severe). A website is developed for display of nation-wide air quality index. As the air quality data become available, online calculation of AQI is carried out and displayed as an Air Quality Meter showing index value (with a pointer) with animation on the screen. The general public can access the information through Internet and other media agencies like newspaper, TV, Radio can also download and disseminate the information.

Publication:

Development of Air Quality Index for Data Interpretation and Public Information (Under Publication).
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STUDIES ON INDOOR AND OUTDOOR AIR MICRO FLORA

The studies on air micro flora of indoor environment of public places have received attention because of its application in air pollution control. The presence of air micro flora in ambient environment causes an inevitable consequences in form of various illness, diseases - endemic as well as epidemic level. The assessment of microbiological quality of air is required at critical industrial sites viz. pharmaceutical, food processing, medical devices manufacture, at operation theatres and hospitals, in food service establishments.


Culture Plates depicting Indoor and Outdoor Microflora


To collect precise information on the bio-aerosol facilitating development of design criteria for protection of human health, the studies have been initiated by CPCB. The objective of the study included recognition, description and understanding of effects of these contaminants at various sources like hospitals, restaurant, reservation centres, courts, residential apartment etc. The study included presence of air microbes, fungal spores, bacteria, pollens, plant spores etc., which are responsible for various diseases as well as produces microtoxins. The study is in progress.
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DEFFECT OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION ON HUMAN HEALTH OF DELHI RESIDENTS

The studies on the effect of air pollution on human health have been undertaken in collaboration with All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The symptoms related to adverse impact on respiratory, cardio-vascular and nervous system were observed in the population. One thousand three hundred and twenty one individuals have been surveyed for their health status at Sirifort, a residential area. The carboxyl hemoglobin levels in the blood were within WHO Standard limit. Considerable extent of lung related diseases have been identified during the survey. Irritation to eyes, cough, pharyngitis, dyspnoea, headache, nausea and vomiting were the symptoms commonly observed due to air pollution effect.

Publications:

Respirable Particulate Matter and its Health Effects: NAAQMS/19/2000-2001.
CPCB Newsletter - Air Pollution and Human Health, September, 2001.
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MONITORING OF HUMAN EXPOSURE TO AIR POLLUTION IN A HIGHLY INDUSTRIAL AREA

In this study, human exposure to air pollution has been assessed in a highly industrialized area in the city of Mumbai. The target group was people of low socio-economic level, who are residing and work in the study area as they are subjected to the worst exposure due to air pollution. The major objectives were to investigate the relation between ambient air quality and personal exposure measurements as well as to identify the factors, which effect exposure concentrations. This can provide important inputs for estimation of health risk of population.

Publication:

Monitoring of Human Exposure to Air Pollution in Industrial Area, PROBES/77/2000-01.
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PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF AIR QUALITY MODELS

The air quality modelling studies in India, particularly its applications for predicting environmental impact resulting from proposed industrial projects, are often questioned. One of the reasons for this is that most of the air quality models, which are in use, are borrowed from developed countries and used without validating them for Indian conditions. Without such adaptation and validation, this technique does not give meaningful output. To overcome this problem to some extent and to have uniform procedure for conducting air quality modelling studies (with reference to prediction of impact from point sources for EIA studies), CPCB has formulated the necessary guidelines. However, performance of various model parameters viz. plume rise equations, dispersion coefficients, etc. are required to be evaluated under Indian conditions.

In view of the above, a project has been initiated that will provide scientific means for validation and adaptation of air quality model suitable for Indian conditions and subsequently help in formulating more appropriate guidelines.

An exhaustive data set including emissions, plume characteristics, measured concentrations of pollutants and meteorological parameters have already been generated for a chosen site. Necessary software, based on Gaussian plume model, has also been developed for computation of ground level concentrations of pollutants emitted from point sources. Further work on evaluation of model parameters is under progress.
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DEVELOPMENT OF CERTIFIED REFERENCE MATERIAL FOR AIR MIXTURES

Certified reference materials are a pre-requisite for calibration of air monitoring instruments and also to check the accuracy of analytical methods. The accuracy of analytical data depends on the quality of reference standards, used for calibration. In India, availability of indigenously manufactured reference material is scanty and much work needs to be done in this direction. In order to overcome this problem, the project was taken up with the sponsorship of the Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi. Few standard reference materials for air mixtures have been prepared on trial basis.


Calibration Gas Dilution Facility at CPCB for Preparation of CRM Air Mixture


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IMPACT OF AUTO EXHAUST LEAD POLLUTION ON VEGETATION IN UNION TERRITORY OF DELHI

The impact of ambient air quality constituting elevated levels of SO2, NO2, SPM and Pb content, were undertaken at five locations (high traffic sites) in Delhi during the period January 1984 to June 1985. Lead in the ambient air at five various traffic intersections were observed in the range of 185-324 ng/m3, while concentration at non-traffic area was 62 ng/m3. Soil samples and plants grown on the soil at the exposure site were analyzed to find out lead contamination. Plant species such as Nerium, Alstonia and Eugenia were cultivated at all the five locations and also at the reference site. Eugenia has been observed as highly tolerant to air pollution and suitable for growing along the roadside.

Publications:

Impact of Auto Exhaust Lead Pollution on Vegetation in Union Territory of Delhi: EIAS/1/1985-86.
Impact of Auto Exhaust Lead Pollution on Vegetation in Union Territory of Delhi (Part-II): EIAS/2/1986-87.
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STUDIES ON TRACE METALS IN PARTICULATE IN AMBIENT AIR

The determination of heavy metals in airborne suspended particulate is important in order to assess the anthropogenic pollutants contribution to ambient air, which may lead to emission source identification, to assess existing levels to which human population is exposed, and application of strategies in air pollution control programme. Measurement of various metals like Lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni) and iron (Fe) in airborne particulate matter in Delhi is being continuously carried out to assess metallic loading of ambient environment.
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MONITORING OF BENZENE AND BTX IN AMBIENT AIR

The following are the monitoring activities of Benzene in Delhi

Monitoring of Benzene in Delhi (using Passive Sampling)

Benzene is being monitored regularly at seven locations in Delhi (since May, 1999) and at five locations in Kanpur (since June, 1999) on fortnightly basis in collaboration with Indo-German Bilateral Project. Samples are also being sent to M/s Draegers, Germany for analysis.

Benzene Monitoring in Delhi (using Active Sampling)

Monitoring of Benzene using active sampling is being conducted at number of locations covering different land use areas.

Benzene Monitoring in Delhi (using Portable/On-line G.C.)

Portable/On-line G.C. based BTX Analyzers are being used for Benzene monitoring in the field at selected locations in Delhi. This monitoring will also be continued not only in Delhi but also in other cities like Kolkata and Bangalore.


ATD -GC-FID System at CPCB Laboratories

Monitoring of BTX is a continuous activity using following techniques: (1) Active Sampling (Pumped); (2) Passive Sampling; and (3) On-Line instruments, i.e. BTX Analysis based on GC-FID and GC-PID. An attempt has been made for standardization and analysis of BTX in CPCB laboratory using GC-FID and ATD-GC-FID techniques. Further studies are in progress to improve the analytical capability.

BTX Monitoring in Delhi and Kanpur (Using Passive Sampling)

Vehicle engine fuels have considerable quantity of Benzene and its derivatives. Application of petrol and diesel fuels in vehicles increases the BTX content in the atmosphere. The BTX are carcinogenic in nature, therefore, it is imperative to monitor the BTX content in the atmosphere.

BTX Monitoring in Kolkata

Monitoring of Benzene alongwith toluene and xylene being undertaken at busy road intersections at three locations i.e. Behala, Garia and Tollygunge. The monitoring being undertaken for 24 hours at 15 minutes interval.

Publications:

Monitoring of Benzene Level in Ambient Air of Delhi: TOS/1/1999-2000.
Benzene in Air and its Health Impact, CPCB Newsletter, February, 2002.

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GC-FID-SPT System at CPCB Laboratories

 

MONITORING OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBON (PAH's)

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are carcinogenic in nature and harmful to health. Routine measurement of 15 PAH compounds namely Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, Anthracene, Fluoranthene, Benz-anthracene, Chrysene, Benzo(b)fluoranthene, Benzo(k)fluoranthene, Benzo(e)pyrene, Benzo(a)pyrene, Perylene, Indeno Pyrene, Dibenz(ah)anthracene and Benzo(ghi)perylene are regularly being conducted in air particulate samples collected at mega metropolitan cities like Delhi, Kolkata to assess their levels in ambient air and at traffic intersections & petrol filling stations.
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STUDIES ON FOG FORMATION IN NORTHERN BELT IN WINTER

In recent years, dense fog throughout the northern belt including Delhi during winter season has caused many problems resulting in slow vehicular movement, delay and cancellation of trains and air services resulting in direct economic losses. The complexity of fog and its accurate measurement needs collaboration of concerned agencies to pool their resources to make measurement of various parameters, required for development of predictive model. With this objective in mind, CPCB decided to work in close cooperation with National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi in specific areas of national importance. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi on March 27, 2000. The scope of the joint research activity will cover:

- Studies on fog occurrence in Delhi and in northern India, mechanism of its formation, its prediction and development of an early warning system;

- Measurement of mean mixing height and occurrence of inversion in Delhi vis-à-vis other areas;

- Studies on characterisation of suspended and respirable particulate matter in Delhi and other areas in order to characterise its origin;

- Development of facilities in NPL and CPCB to calibrate and standardize the air quality monitoring analyzers; and

- Development/revision of source base noise standards including their compliance testing.

The monitoring of various parameters influencing the onset of fog has been conducted by NPL using the available infrastructure. The studies provided information on the meteorological and other processes as fog condenses, changes with time and eventually disappears. The number of parameters like mixing height, temperature, relative humidity, pressure, size fraction analysis, Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide in ambient air being monitored during the study.
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STUDIES ON MIXING AND INVERSION HEIGHT FROM SODAR SYSTEM

Sound Detection and Ranging (SODAR) system is an unique remote sensing device, used for mapping of atmospheric turbulence, depth of planetary boundary layer using naturally occurring fluctuation in atmospheric temperature, wind velocity, atmospheric stability, convective plumes and low level disturbances etc.

SODAR system has been installed at `Parivesh Bhawan' in March, 1992 in collaboration with National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi. The system employs the acoustic waves of 2.2 KHz frequency for accurate sensing of thermal and wind structure of lower atmosphere upto 700 metre vertical height. The system has unique application for real time measurement of atmospheric condition, thermal and wind structure of lower atmosphere, mean wind velocity, component wind velocity and echo-intensity which are useful in air pollution dispersion and modelling studies.

Mixing height is the height upto which proper mixing takes place in the atmosphere. It is same as the height of the base of inversion layer. Mixing height can be obtained from SODAR by studying the echogram and these are useful to know the pollution potential and to find out ground level concentrations. The SODAR system installed at `Parivesh Bhawan', CPCB is being used to generate the data.

Publication:

Spatial Distribution of Hourly Mixing Depth; PROBES/92/2002-03.
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ASSESSMENT OF RESPIRABLE SUSPENDED PARTICULATE MATTER

The monitoring of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter is undertaken at various cities and towns viz. Hyderabad, Vishakhapatanam, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Parwanoo, Bangalore, Cochin, Dehradun, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Solapur, Angul, Rourkela, Jaipur, Chennai, Kanpur, Lucknow and Kolkata, with objective to determine status of PM10 in ambient air. RSPM levels are exceeding the ambient air standards at many locations in the country. The high RSPM levels mainly attributed to vehicular pollution, which is increasing exponentially in most of the cities. The concentration of RSPM also depend on total emission load and meteorological condition like ventilation, inversion, humidity, wind direction, wind velocity and rainfall pattern. Thus, the city with low emission of RSPM may have high ambient air concentration of RSPM.


RSPM Monitors in Operation at Tajmahal, Agra


Publications:

Respirable Particulate Matter and its Health Effects: NAAQMS/19/2000-2001.
Air Quality Status and Trends in India: NAAQMS/14/2000-01.
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PHYTO-REMEDIATION OF PARTICULATE MATTER FROM AMBIENT ENVIRONMENT THROUGH DUST CAPTURING PLANT SPECIES

Ambient Air constitutes various size ranges of suspended particles commonly recognized as Dust, which are continuously agglomerated and deposited on various surfaces. The deposited particulate matter is a conglomerate of chemically heterogeneous substances. Many different types act on plants in a variety of ways. Studies are proposed to identify the plant species, which have higher potential of dust capturing from environment while sustaining their well being. The Phytoremediation of particulate matter from ambient environment through dust capturing plant species involves a unique combination of concentration and exposure period to the pollutant (or pollutants), plant species, plant age and environmental conditions. The studies will enable the user to determine simply and directly the factors involved in dust capturing capacity of the plant species. This is ongoing collaborative project with Pollution Control Research Institute (PCRI), BHEL, Haridwar.

The main objectives of the project are:

- To Study relative exposure vs. dust capturing capacity of various identified plant species through natural and controlled exposure.

- To evaluate out the rate of dust deposition/capture capacity of different plants species (Herbs, Shrubs & Trees)

- To identify the Plant species with high potential for Control of Dust/Suspended Particulate Matter in Ambient Air.

- To prepare checklist of Plant species for Phyto-remediation of particulate matter from ambient environment.

The project plan comprises the survey and identification of the plant species, which have very high natural capacity to capture Particulate dust from ambient air near Thermal Power Stations, Coal Mines, Lime Kilns and at metropolitan cities with high automobile movement and review of available documents/reports. Morphometric measurement of plant foliage for assessment of dust capture area available with the plant species. Controlled development of plant species in nursery and then exposure at identified heavy dust particulate sites. Relative assessment of level of Suspended Particulate matter and relative dust capture by plant species (Herbs/ Shrubs) during the exposure period.
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QUALITY ASSURANCE THROUGH INTER-LABORATORY COMPARISON OF AMBIENT AIR QUALITY MEASUREMENT METHODS

Quality Assurance (QA) programme plays a vital role in generating reliable, good and representative data of any monitoring programme and especially in a complex condition of ambient air quality measurements. Central Pollution Control Board is monitoring 290 stations in the country for air quality assessment in terms of SPM, SO2, NO2 and also meteorological parameters through various SPCB's/PCC's. In order to generate reliable air quality data and to improve the performance of various laboratories, a Quality Assurance programme with "Static Injection System" for carrying out "RING TEST" for gaseous pollutants such as SO2 and NO2 was set up through technical assistance from German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) in 1997 and it is the only one of its kind in the entire country. Starting from 1999, four rounds of inter laboratory exercises have been conducted for laboratories for SPCB's/PCC's. The result indicates that the performance of participating laboratories was found good at higher concentrations than lower concentrations for SO2 and NO2. The participating laboratories need to adopt sound Quality Assurance for generating good, reliable and representative Air Quality data.


Static Injection System at CPCB Laboratories

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