Govt asks pollution watchdogs to get their instruments calibrated to maintain accuracy

NEW DELHI: Admitting that most of the pollution measuring and biomedical equipment are “not calibrated as per standards in the country which affects quality of the measured data”, the Centre has asked pollution watchdogs – CPCB and SPCBs – to get their instruments calibrated periodically and also put specialized agency on job to calibrate biomedical machines to maintain instrumental accuracy.
Since calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide uniform result for a particular sample, it is done keeping in view the geographical location and general climatic condition including temperature and pressure level. Though, biomedical equipment follow the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) parameters, there has been no uniformity in the sector due to the absence of mandatory calibrations.

Admitting the problem that exists due to non-calibration of such equipment, the government had on Wednesday told the Parliament that the “National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), being the National Metrology Institute (NMI), has initiated a programme for the calibration of pollution measuring and biomedical equipment.”

“The CSIR-NPL has established a primary ozone calibration facility which is being used by different organizations for calibrating their ozone analyzers used for monitoring ambient ozone concentrations,” said the minister of state for science and technology Y S Chowdary in his written response to a Parliament question.

He said, “The CSIR-NPL is also calibrating the biomedical equipment like clinical thermometer and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines for the calibration of temperature and magnetic field, respectively.”

The TOI had reported the matter in September when the CSIR-NPL flagged the issue highlighting the current use of non-calibrated instruments which are bound to provide inaccurate result.

Once all such instruments are calibrated, users will get accurate and uniform results even if they use machines of different manufacturers.

In absence of calibration, different pollution measuring machines give different figures for emission level at a particular location at given point of time – making it difficult to analyse an actual situation. Similarly, different BP measuring machines, blood sugar testing instruments, thermometer or MRI machines may give different results for a patient if these equipment are not calibrated.

Since there is also a need to create mechanism for certification for various equipment and methodologies used for monitoring/measurement of air and water parameters to help Indian manufacturers of such instruments, the NPL is actively engaged with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for creation of such certification agency in the country.

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