AHMADABAD, India — The western Indian city of Ahmadabad on Friday launched its first air quality monitoring system that will be used to send out pollution alerts.
The system will also inform city residents of the health risks of high pollution.
For the last few years discussions about India’s soaring air pollution levels have focused largely on the abysmal quality of the air in the country’s capital, New Delhi. But experts have long warned that other cities aren’t likely any better and just don’t have monitoring mechanisms to measure how their pollution levels compare.
The new air quality index and pollution alert system in Ahmadabad was set up by the city’s municipal corporation with help from several health and environmental advocacy groups. Air quality monitors installed across the city will collect data on pollutants.
Anjali Jaiswal of the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, which worked with the city on the project, said in a statement that its aim is to “to protect and increase awareness among residents on air pollution.”
India, like neighboring China, has seen pollution grow as its economy has boomed and it has continued to rely on coal to generate electricity. The number of vehicles on the road has skyrocketed, while hundreds of millions of impoverished people still use wood, kerosene or whatever they can find at garbage dumps to build fires for cooking or keeping warm on winter nights.
Ahmadabad, a city of more than 7 million people, faces some of the same problems that make the Indian capital’s air so lethal: proximity to the Thar desert, breakneck construction projects and a high density of vehicles.