The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in coordination with the Ministry of Environment will utilize satellite technology developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to monitor pollution sources in northwest and central India. This initiative aims to hold states accountable for contributing to high pollution levels.
The officials of MoES are already collaborating with Isro to identify stubble-burning hotspots in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. However, this project will expand the scope of pollution monitoring to encompass all sources, including vehicular and industrial emissions, open burning, and construction activities.
Through satellite imaging, the government plans to create a real-time pollution map of the region. This map will enable the authorities to track pollution hotspots and ensure that states are taking necessary actions to mitigate pollution. The government aims to implement satellite monitoring before the upcoming winter season and establish it as a standard model for pollution monitoring.
Satellites can measure the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere by observing the amount of light that reaches the Earth’s surface and the amount reflected off the aerosols. This measurement, known as aerosol optical depth (AOD) or aerosol optical thickness, provides valuable insights into pollution levels.
The Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite data is used to generate maps of stubble burnt areas at the end of the stubble-burning activity during the kharif season. Additionally, the INSAT-3D and 3DR satellites are equipped with an imager payload that can monitor AOD and detect PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in the atmosphere.
By leveraging Isro’s satellite technology, the government aims to have a comprehensive understanding of pollution sources in India and take appropriate measures to combat pollution effectively. This initiative reflects the commitment of the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Ministry of Environment to address environmental challenges and safeguard public health.