Bengaluru: To give access to pollution data and to help the efforts of Whitefield residents to get authorities to curtail pollution caused by Graphite India Ltd (GIL), AirCare in collaboration with the Whitefield Rising has launched low-cost sensors to measure particulate matter (PM) 2.5.
The sensors have been developed by Mr Shiv Shankar, founder of Mapshalli, and Varun Ramakrishnan, a Class 12 student. Seven such sensors have been placed across Whitefield, which witnesses heavy traffic and construction activity throughout the day. AirCare system monitors PM2.5 levels and posts the data online for real-time tracking.
Residents said that the soot from GIL makes walkways in the vicinity slippery and turns household items and plants black. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) issued a closure order to GIL in 2012 as it was not conforming to pollution standards, but the company obtained a court stay order.
Ms Zibi Jamal, a member of Whitefield Rising, said, “The BMRCL (Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) does not clean the roads regularly to control dust. We want KSPCB to place continuous air quality monitoring systems at the GIL junction and the data should be made available in the public domain.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) specification for PM 2.5 is 10µg/m3 annually and 25µg/m3 for 24 hours. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) norms are 40µg/m3 annually and 60µg/m3 for 24 hours.
It is found that PM 2.5 levels at the GIL junction is 3.5 times higher than other locations. One of the sensors is placed at RxDx Hospital located near GIL.