Pune: Smart Cities Mission Director Kunal Kumar has promised to have an open data platform of all information generated by different sensors set up by the smart city corporations in several cities and to generate live air quality information through it in the next few months.
Kumar said, “Smart Cities are not made in one or two years. It is crucial to understand that cities and their issues are governed by a continuum, and the city’s life cycle and the stage of development they are in currently. That is why cities which are poster boys of clean air today like London and Tokyo, were in fact highly polluted in the 1970s and 80s. To make our cities better, he emphasized on being open to criticism, collaborative in approach and being keen to develop best practices through action, instead of blindly following best practices from elsewhere.”
Kumar was speaking at an online event hosted by Parisar NGO for the release of its report, ‘Clearing the Haze: An analysis of air quality management in six smart cities in Maharashtra’. Dr Priyadarshini Karve, CEO of Samuchit Enviro Tech and Sarath Guttikunda, founder of Urban Emissions along with other dignitaries attended the event.
The report is based on a study done in six non-attainment smart cities of Maharashtra - Aurangabad, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Solapur and Thane. To understand how the Smart Cities Mission has dealt with deteriorating air quality in cities, the study looked at how the cities determined their base level (on a scale of 1-4), projects they proposed to improve air quality and finally the status of those projects. The study used data received from the smart city SPVs, and stakeholder consultations.
Following are the important findings from the study:
- All cities have fitted air sensors under the mission, but there is no clarity on how the data generated by these is and will be used by the city.
- Mission city information, such as project status and actual outcomes were difficult to obtain.
- While it is mandatory for each city to report on air quality in the proposal, there is no logic as to why certain projects have been proposed and to what extent they would help improve air quality.
- Poor convergence was found between the city AQ action plans made under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and the Smart Cities Mission. While it was announced that the mission would be used to leverage the NCAP in the 43 nonattainment Smart Cities, the analysis shows that this goal has not been achieved.