Asia Africa Workshop on Smart and Affordable Monitoring, India

Venue: Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute, Alwar Rajasthan
February 5th – 7th, 2018

Centre for Science & Environment (CSE) organized a global conclave “Asia Africa workshop on SMART and Affordable monitoring” from 5th and 7th February 2018, where the last day i.e. 7th February 2018 was dedicated to demonstrations of various sensor based equipment and other monitoring kits by various organizations and manufacturers. The objective of the conclave was to address the way environmental monitoring can be done in the global South since the continuous monitoring systems have been found to not be feasible in many developing countries due to the cost and skilled manpower constraint.


The conclave started with presentation by Mr. Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE. He set the tone of the workshop by giving an overview on the existing scenario of environmental monitoring and the limitations of monitoring methods and need of Smart and affordable monitoring technologies in developing countries. This was followed by a synopsis of the existing environmental monitoring framework in both Africa & south Asia by Mr. Sean Khan, UNEP (Kenya) & Mr. J S Kamyotra, Member Secretory (Retd.), CPCB respectively.

The second session was devoted for discussion on current scenario and shortcomings in environmental monitoring in terms of technology and number of stations in various countries of Africa & south Asia. This session was chaired by Mr. Chandra Bhushan. Delegates from various countries presented a brief on the existing scenario of their respective countries and the improvement that are required in their respective countries. The representatives for the following countries gave the presentation in this session.

Sri Lanka

The next session was designed to discuss various Portable and open source monitoring technologies, and was chaired by Mr. Vasu Kilaru (Physical Scientist, US EPA). Mr. Sean Khan presented a “Did it ourselves” monitoring kit that was designed by UNEP, to monitor air quality. This was followed by Mr. Vasu Kilaru’s presentation on their air monitoring technologies such as Air Sensors toolbox, Citizen Science Air Monitor (CSAM), Air Mapper and Village Green and various visualization & analytics tools viz., RETIGO & MAT (Macro Analysis Tool). This was followed by presentations from various technology developers viz., Personal Air quality Monitoring System by Dr. Ragoth Sundararajan; India Open Data by Mr. Mrutyunjay Mishra and Common data platform for air quality sensors by Mr. Anshul Anand from INSIST. They discussed their technologies so as to provide alternatives for portable ambient air monitoring systems.

The last session of the day was dedicated to community and civil society initiatives in field of environmental monitoring which was chaired by Mr. Sean Khan. Ms. Gita Kapahi presented the case of the state of California on how the CalEPA (California) educates and encourages local communities and involve them in environmental monitoring. Her presentation was very exhaustive covering various aspects of air and water quality monitoring, which helped in addressing various myths associated with citizen monitoring. This was followed by the last presentation of the day by Col. Prakash Tewari from DLF Foundation. He spoke of how DLF Foundation initiated citizen monitoring in Gurugram. In his presentation, he discussed various challenges faced by them in environmental monitoring, along with various aspects associated with citizen monitoring like communication and financial approach among others.

Day two of the workshop started with a session dedicated to understand various new and upcoming technologies in field monitoring. This session was chaired by Ms. Gita Kapahi. Various developers and researchers gave detailed presentations on their kits and sensors based monitors. Mr. Suraj Chawla gave presentation on sensor based water quality monitoring, where he discussed the types of monitors, their use and limitations. Following his presentation was Ms. Vasanthi Lawrence from TWAD, who presented the details and specifications of field water testing kit that I used by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board. The presentation highlighted that the TWAD board’s kit is capable of testing 12 parameters and the kit can analyze 100 samples before its reagents gets exhausted. Mr. Vijay Kumar from SWAN then discussed about the limitations of sensors based equipments and emphasized on monitoring TOC instead of oxygen demand for various parameters. The reason behind his proposition was that the analysis of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) involves usage of toxic chemicals; moreover data for BOD/COD generated by UV-VIS spectroscopy technology cannot be trusted and validated. And because of which, TOC is accepted globally instead of BOD/COD to determine organic compounds present in the sample. This was followed by a presentation by Samuel Rajkumar from Akvo on their mobile phone application based hand held kits for portable water quality monitoring known as Caddisfly. And the last presentation of this session was by Mr. Pramod Kumar from Development Alternatives, on their reagent based portable drinking river water quality monitoring kit “Jal Tara”. This kit is designed to test 14 different physical, chemical & biological parameters, with a unique feature of detecting presence of coliforms without the need of incubation.

This was followed by a panel discussion on need of quality assurance of portable technologies so as to meet regulatory requirements as well along with self regulation and compliance benefits. The expert panel comprised of Shri C P Marak (Chairman, Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board), Shri Achyut Mishra (Member Secretary, Madhya Pradesh State Pollution Control Board), Shri J S Kamyotra (Member Secretary (Retd.), Central Pollution Control Board), Shri Sivakumar Myilvaganam (Director, Eastern Province Office, Central Environmental Authority), Shri Ravi Narayan Prusty (Senior Environmental Engineer, Odisha State Pollution Control Board) and Mr Vasu Kilaru (Physical Scientist, US Environmental Protection Agency).

The last session of the conclave was devoted to the Continuous Emission/Effluent Monitoring System (CEMS and CEQMS), which was chaired by Shri. Kamyotra. This session mainly involved challenges and learning associated with CEMS & CEQMS, along with experience in India and its regulatory perspective followed by a presentation on Implementation of CEMS & CEQMS in Germany / Europe by Mr. Karsten Pletscher from TUV Rehinland, Germany. The last presentation was also presented by Mr. Karsten on Quality assurance for CEMS in Europe. This was followed by the wrap up session and a discussion on the way forward.