Workshop Notes: Real-time Nationwide Low-Cost Sensor Network for Air Quality Monitoring

A workshop on “Real-time Nationwide Low-Cost Sensor Network for Air Quality Monitoring” was organised on August 29th, 2018 at the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, New Delhi. The workshop was meant to give a platform for  sharing of knowledge amongst stakeholders. The intent was to deliberate upon full spectrum of low-cost sensor monitoring of air pollution including policy issues, modelling and remote monitoring of air quality.  (agenda available here)

Key points from the workshop are noted below.

Arun Kumar Mehta, MoEFCC:

Technology will play a big role in improving India’s clean air. Action on air quality needs to be made a budgetary issue since it won’t work without investment.

Data needs to be fit for purpose, we don’t always need (or can get) 100% accurate data. What we need is data we can work with, and if we know what the accuracy levels are, we can work with the low-cost sensors.

Since we have very few stations in rural areas, we need to expand monitoring there, and also expand across India; this can only be achieved through a combination of regulatory-grade and low-cost instruments.

Ajai Mathur, TERI:

We have to understand the importance of data in influencing public opinion. Availability of data made it easier to ask questions and demand action.

Four critical issues with respect to air quality (AQ) monitoring:

  • Coverage, both geographic and for all pollutant species (focusing on other pollutants beyond PM10 and PM2.5)
  • Credibility, precision and accuracy of the devices
  • Transparency, making data available and accessible
  • Cost-effectiveness, credible data at an affordable cost

Ashutosh Sharma, DST:

We need technology both for measurement (and data analysis) of air pollution and control of pollution (at source). Also, we can’t work in silos; integration across sectors is key!

C K Mishra, MoEFCC:

Unless we are able to get data from the entire geography, it is hard to come up with effective solutions. We need a strong knowledge base for country-wide monitoring and this is resource-intensive. In the Ministry, we believe that our work is guided by science and not hearsay. 

Sagnik Dey, IIT-Delhi:

Satellite data is freely available and is easy to access. There is an opportunity to use satellite data to augment decision-making on regulatory monitoring and low-cost sensors. Satellite can guide us in terms of selection of locations for placement of sensors.

Results from two projects funded as part of the DST-Intel Collaborative Research for real-time river water and air quality monitoring were presented at the workshop:

  • The first project was Streaming Analytics over Temporal Variables from Air quality Monitoring (SATVAM) being implemented by IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Bombay and IISc Bangalore. The project aims to collect air quality information sustainably, nation-wide, and at a low cost to allow policy makers and citizens to deploy data-driven control and preventive mechanisms. The focus is on low-cost PM2.5 sensors, ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) sensors; concentrated photovoltaic conversion backed up by Li-ion battery based storage. Together, the idea is to integrate the entire hardware, communication and software stack, from local sensing to distributed analytics, to offer a comprehensive solution. Members of the SATVAM team presented results (in some cases) on different facets of the development and use of low-cost sensors in India.

ATMOS network (PM monitoring) : The network is focused on improving data availability in remote areas, or in places where AQ monitoring isn’t currently in place. At IIT-Bombay, Dr. Rajesh Zele‘s team is working on development of gas sensor nodes (using Alphasense sensors). Current tests with ATMOS monitors show encouraging results (Zheng et al., AMT), and further analyses are currently underway.

  • The other project entitled High Resolution Air Quality Monitoring and Air Pollutant Data Analytics  and is being undertaken by IISc Bangalore and CSIR-CEERIThe project aims to develop and validate a low-cost sensor system coupled with improved techniques of sampling and calibrations to develop the air quality index and identify sources of pollutants with focus on vehicular pollution.

Another interesting project that is currently under development is being led by Dr. Rijurekha Sen at IIT-Delhi. The  idea is to install low-cost sensors on DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System) buses and monitor air pollution around the city. However, there are technical and logistical challenges that the team is currently working to resolve.

Media coverage from the event:

This technology monitor will help your cellphones read air quality instantly 

News regarding the SATVAM project:

 “Government committed to harness science and technology for the preservation of environment”:  Dr. Harsh Vardhan  

Announcement of research projects for DST-Intel Collaborative Research for real-time river water and air quality monitoring

DST/MoEFCC Workshop on Realtime Air Quality Monitoring

A workshop on “Real-time Nationwide Low-Cost Sensor Network for Air Quality Monitoring” is being organised on 29th August, 2018 at Ganga Auditorium, Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, Jor Bagh Road, MoEF&CC, New Delhi.

IoT-based low-cost sensor network are emerging as potential alternative for air quality monitoring. It is imperative to discuss state-of-the-art and future potential of these low-cost technologies vis a vis high cost conventional systems.

Message from Deputy Secretary, MoEF&CC:

The workshop would give a platform for sharing of knowledge amongst stakeholders. It intends to deliberate upon full spectrum of low-cost sensor monitoring of air pollution including policy issues, modelling and remote monitoring of air quality.  Hon’ble Minister MoEF&CC has kindly consented to grace the occasion.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop is open for all. 

H/T: Ronak Sutaria

Short Course on Air Pollution, Climate & Health

PHFI-HSPH GEOHealth Hub for Research and Capacity Building is organizing a course on methodologies for air pollution, climate and health data analysis. It will cover time series analysis, GLM and regression and analysis of longitudinal and clustered data among other things.

The course will run from January 15-19, 2018 and is currently accepting applications (Application form).

Deadline: Noon (12 PM) on December 22, 2017

Send your applications to Suganthi Jaganathan (please mention “short course” in the subject line)

Who should attend the course? 

This course is designed for researchers who have Postgraduate degree in Public Health or related discipline and working in the area of environmental health and who want to deepen and extend their knowledge.


Announcement: International Workshop

The 9th International Workshop on Sand / Dust storm and Associated Dustfall 

What: The dustworkshop9 is a scientific forum to analyse and discuss the state of the art research on dust, its connections to air quality, environmental impacts and climate.

When: May 22-24, 2018

Where: Tenerife, Spain

Abstract submission is open until February 15, 2018, and instructions and templates are available on the website (link).


Conference on Environmental Health

Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health (Pacific Basin) are co-hosting the 17th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium in New Delhi, India between November 14-16, 2017.

The theme of the 2017 Conference “Environmental Health and Sustainable Development” underpins the interconnectedness of the environmental, economic, and social development with human health. Intersectoral collaboration will be necessary to achieve health benefits by addressing environmental health risks.

Major conference themes include Children’s Environmental Health, Air Pollution, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Climate Change, Exposure to Toxic Chemicals, and Built Environment.

Deadline for abstract submission: September 30th, 2017

Deadline for early registration: September 30th, 2017


ACAM Workshop & Training School

ACAM (Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Monsoon) is a SPARC/IGAC jointly sponsored activity.

The scientific scope of the workshop follows the four scientific themes of ACAM, each representing a key aspect of the connection between atmospheric composition and Asian monsoon dynamics:

  1. Emissions and air quality in the Asian monsoon region – This theme spans all seasons, recognizing issues ranging from summertime photochemical smog to winter pollution episodes.
  2. Aerosols, clouds, and their interactions with the Asian monsoon – This theme recognizes the dominant impact of aerosols on this region and the continuing exploration of evidence for feedbacks influencing the monsoon climate system.
  3. Impact of monsoon convection on chemistry – This theme focuses on the vertical redistribution of anthropogenic and natural emissions, expanding global the impact of Asian emissions on atmospheric chemistry.
  4. UTLS Response to the Asian Monsoon – This theme emphasizes the intersection between Asian emissions and the monsoon anticyclone circulation as a conduit for increased anthropogenic influence on the UTLS environment.


When:  5-9 June 2017 (Workshop) and 10-12 June (Training School)

WhereJinan University, Guangzhou, China

Registration, Abstract Submission, Training School Application, Travel Support Application: 15 March 2017



Atmospheric chemistry in the anthropocene: Faraday Discussion

This Discussion will focus on emerging issues such as interactions between anthropogenic and biogenic emissions, new mechanisms important for atmospheric chemistry, the impacts of climate on air quality, and new instrumental tools and platforms for atmospheric chemistry.

When: May 22-24, 2017

Where: York, United Kingdom

Aims: This meeting aims to bring together a global network of experimentalists, field scientists, theoreticians, chemists, physicists and environmental scientists working at the forefront of these emerging issues, providing a forum for cross-disciplinary exchange and discussion of ideas on the processes that control the composition of the atmosphere.


Workshop: Air Pollution Research, Activism, and Education

What: Training Workshop: Air Pollution Research, Activism, and Education

Where: Bengaluru, India

When: February 17, 2017

Organizer: The Asthma Files [Link]

The Asthma Files is a collaborative, web-based project to draw together and explicate multiple perspectives on asthma – from different scientific disciplines, policy arenas, health care settings and communities where asthmatics live.


1st session (1.5 hours each) In this session, we will review recent research on patterns of air pollution in different places, and associated human health impacts. We will also introduce a collaborative social science study of air pollution governance in ten cities (including New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, Albany, Beijing, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Delhi) currently underway, as part of the larger Asthma Files research project.

2nd session (1.5 hours each) In this session, we will examine different kinds of air pollution activism, and an array of ways air pollution can be addressed in educational settings. Extending from the Asthma Files research project, the EcoEd project has been delivering air pollution education to students at all levels (from 1st standard through PhD) for the last five years.

If you are interested, please contact:

Vinay Baindur

Satellite Remote Sensing of Air Quality

What: Training on Satellite Remote Sensing of Air Quality

Host: Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, MoES [Link]

When: May 23- 26, 2017

Where: Pune, India

NASA satellite data can be used for a variety of applications, including air quality forecasting, smoke and fire detection, and PM2.5 monitoring. This training will cover the access and use of NASA resources for decision-making activities related to air quality. A presentation on relevant data products, as well as the online tools used to acquire and visualize aerosol and trace gas data, will be followed by an air quality case study. Participants will have the opportunity to use available data portals and visualization tools to identify, track, and measure air quality events of their choosing.

Attendees will:

  • Become familiar with specific data products, including data from MODIS, MISR, OMI, VIIRS, and CALIPSO, and online tools, such as Worldview and Giovanni
  • Conduct a case study incorporating data portals, visualization tools, and satellite data to identify, track, and measure an air quality event
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the data products discussed


This training is restricted to participants from India only.

Registration Deadline: March 15, 2017