They pay to know their particulate matter!!
An extremely well-framed article by Jayshree Nandi on how people are gradually becoming aware and concerned towards the quality of air that they are breathing as well as their eagerness to assess the condition through numbers. The story is a very good pointer to the fact that the way the state regulatories are focused and approaching the issue of air-quality management, is to a great extent, wrong. Sharing the data of limited set of locations with the public is not a good starting point for addressing this global pandemic of air pollution. Rather, it merely shows a half-baked initiative of social responsibility towards the society. What we direly require during this moment of time is a good number of air-quality assessment devices which also offer the ability of sharing the data with the larger public. A key point which we have forgotten is that air-quality management is largely a middle to upper class issue in India, as this category is generally sensitized due to their far greater accessibility to the information. By making the data open, there is a much greater scope of including the excluded categories and also pushing them to contribute towards better air-quality management in India.
In addition to that, another important step that we all as concerned community should push for is the setting up of a universal system where all the parameters and measurement units of the environment are uniformly defined so that any new set of device or component can be easily tested and calibrated with the state regulatory devices for greater data accuracy. It is imperative for us to ensure that whatever data on air-quality we are generating/curating gets translated into a proper knowledge base which ultimately can help in pushing for the necessary action. If we, as a concerned community, are able to achieve this, then truly we can expect a remarkable transition within the society in terms of better air-quality management.
Please do read the article as we deeply require people to develop this thought approach in addressing the issue of air pollution.