Air Quality Monitors in India Need Calibration

NPL has now asked the country’s central pollution watchdog, CPCB, and the pollution control boards of all states to calibrate their instruments with the standard fixed by them.

Lack of calibration of pollution-measuring instruments has been hampering efforts of the country’s pollution watchdog to come out with accurate data on air pollution. When Delhi experimented with car rationing (odd-even) schemes to tackle the problem of air pollution, people wondered why the different agencies showed different figures for emission level of pollutants in the capital. 

It had intrigued even policy-makers. But scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the CSIR knew that the answers to many such questions lay with pollution measuring instruments which were not calibrated to standardised form. There was, in fact, no standardisation of such pollution-measuring instruments in India and therefore there was no calibration as per the standard norms considering different functional parameters of such equipment. As a result, even the national air quality index, being released everyday by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), does not give an absolutely correct picture of the level of pollution in different cities.

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