A top Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) scientist on Monday said that the agency may consider using advanced LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) devices to vertically monitor the air quality of Delhi-NCR.

CPCB’s air lab chief Dipankar Saha said the agency is currently focussing on strengthening its surface-level monitoring network, however, in “later stages”, vertical monitoring will also be taken up.

He was reacting to a report that the CPCB’s plans to use the LiDAR technology, using which laser beams are projected in the sky to study the composition of pollutants present in the upper layers, has hit a financial roadblock.

“The CPCB has taken up the responsibility to strengthen the ground-level monitoring first on a priority basis. It may consider application of the LiDAR-like monitoring in later stages to have better strategic planning in air pollution control in Delhi-NCR for which fund would never be a constraint,” Saha said.

LiDAR is a monitoring system for mapping and modelling in micro-topography, forestry, agriculture, meteorology and environmental pollution.

Elastic Backscatter LiDAR and Raman LiDAR are used in monitoring air pollutants vertically.

“The CPCB and IMD had used the Elastic Backscatter LiDAR in Delhi during the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the data was utilised in 3D modelling and forecasting during the games,” he said.

LiDAR projects laser beams towards the sky.

Subsequently, the interplay of light with the objects falling on its path through absorption, reflection, scattering help determine the composition of suspended particulates.