Ateam of four researchers from University of Texas (UT) are in the city to map the air quality(PM 2.5 levels) at 60 different locations in the city for over a year. The team has already shortlisted 14 locations in the city including MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences in Peenya, Heritage International School in HBR Layout, BM English School, CMR Institute of Technology, Brindavan Group of Institutions, Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), along with a few residences. They will begin next week.
Advaitha Reddy, one of the researchers in the team said, “People have been asking why did we choose India and specifically Bengaluru for our study and why not Delhi which is far more polluted. We were considering several countries with high pollution levels like China but we chose India as one has more freedom and flexibility to conduct researches here. Bengaluru is a city with moderate pollution levels so it can be taken as a model to study pollution levels in an urban city. Our team will be monitoring the air quality in Bengaluru for three months and then one of our researchers will stay back to monitor over a year, along with CSTEP researchers. We plan to leave our censors installed here after the year-long study for others to take charge and continue monitoring the air quality in the city.”
The team from UT comprises undergraduate students from different streams like Mechanical Engineering, Biochemistry, Sociology and Management Information, and Public Health. “We will be installing our devices at business centres, hospitals, colleges, institutions, and residences within the city to map air quality during different times of the day and during different seasons,” said Jonathan Gingrich, one of the researchers.
“We are also looking for hosts that can take responsibility for the safety of devices. They need to be connected with WiFi all the time and also need battery backup. Once installed, it will remain operational for up to a year. Our hosts will be trained on the basics of how to set up and use the devices. The devices will update air quality data, temperature, and humidity levels on our website, purpleair.com/map every 90 seconds. Our main focus is on mapping PM 2.5 levels in the city. Some of our sensors will be installed in heavy traffic areas and others in low traffic areas. We will also install sensors in residences to monitor air quality around homes. We are only focusing on the northern part of the city,” added Advaitha. The team will collate the pollution data in the city by the end of August, and will collate further data on pollution levels during different seasons in the city when a year is completed.
The project is being funded by the President’s Award for Global Learning under the University of Texas.