India Pollution Map
www.indiapollutionmap.org aims to collect and disseminate information on pollution and its impacts on environmental quality. The online website project was evolved from a need to increase access to information on levels of pollution in the country. In addition, the lack of usability of this information, which is largely in the form of excel documents or pdf reports, impedes civil society engagement in catalysing action on measuring and mitigating pollution. The online map tool offered by www.indiapollutionmap.org can assist in graphically visualising this information (be it data, reports etc.) thus bringing more value and greater usability for decision-makers themselves who generate this data and for citizens and civil society organisations who can be the drivers of change. By tracking and making available information on pollution generated from different sources, such as government organisations, NGOs working on pollution issues etc., in a value added form of ma visuals, the project aims to meet two key objectives: (a) to build a repository of information on pollution in India and providing better access to a range of information on pollution (b) to generate valuable insights on levels of pollution, potential impacts and on what more needs to be measured and monitored.
What we deliver
1. Data on pollution monitoring from various sources that are neatly organized for analysis for research purposes 2. A set of maps generated from such data to visualize the information innovatively 3. Information resources that provide the larger context to place the maps generated from such information 4. A mapping platform of citizen generated data on pollution that can be visualized beyond excel sheets, bar graphs and pdf reports
Whom we deliver
Civil society users ranging from environmental NGOs, academics involved in the environmental and development sector, students, doctors, media, former bureaucrats.
Why is the project unique?
To begin with, in India, there is very little real-time monitoring and very few mechanisms to meaningfully share pollution monitoring information. The government-generated data is currently stored in the ‘Environmental Data Bank'(EDB) with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Through a query-based interface, data can be accessed from the EDB site and utilised for the user’s purpose. This interface is not user-friendly, and hence, limits access to academia, researchers and research organisations. Moreover, the data is maintained in excel sheets which can be cumbersome to understand. But when this data is viewed as an image or a map, which is what the online pollution map serves to do – it provides a powerful, yet easy to understand bird’s eye view on various aspects of pollution. Other countries including China and the US have well-established environmental monitoring regimes that provide the public with timely information about pollution. In both countries, nationwide pollution sensors are linked directly to servers that provide up-to-date information online. Similarly, direct access to CPCB’s data or direct feeds from pollution monitors, for example, would permit real time visualisation of pollution which is useful for a variety of audiences. Simply put, although India’s levels of waste and emissions have naturally increased alongside its growing economy, the country’s environmental monitoring programme – which tracks the impact of pollution on the environment – has lagged conspicuously behind. Without effective monitoring, comprehensive data cannot be generated and cannot be relied upon to take informed action on pollution in the environment. Efforts are underway to step up the infrastructure for monitoring. But before that happens, existing information systems need to be reviewed and the information itself needs to be better disseminated. To this effect, the pollution map is a tool that better organizes and monitors pollution data. It goes a step further by visually presenting the information in a map format, making it much easier to understand than datasheets or reports. This uniquely positions the map as a guide and catalyst for reform on pollution control and mitigation.
The India Pollution Map will focus on strengthening and refining the existing information architecture of government and civil society information by continuously partnering with the representative agencies and expanding the presentation of pollution monitoring information Catalysing action against pollution The map has been developed with a view to provide better access to data and generate meaningful and insightful interpretations for the purpose of catalysing action on pollution control and mitigation. Thus, civil society organisations, citizen activists and NGOs will find the website useful towards purposes of research and advocacy. Policy-making bodies and regulating agencies too would find this tool a guiding factor in improving the monitoring regime. In all, the pollution map is hoped would be supporting step in progressing towards better environmental quality for India.
Centre for Development Finance, IFMR
A1, 10th floor, IITMRP, 1, Kanagam Road, Taramani
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
URL/Website – www.ifmr.ac.in/cdf