New Delhi: A United Nations body has praised a pollution monitoring system developed by Indian scientists to ensure clean air during the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi last year. India is now planning to replicate the model in six other cities.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a specialised agency of the UN, said the System of Air Pollution Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) developed by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) will set an example across the globe.

"SAFAR is an excellent example of a well carried out project and the experience of this project serves as an example within India, South Asia and globally," L Jalkanen, head of the WMO's Atmospheric Environment Research Division said on March 29.

SAFAR had provided information on air quality on an hourly basis and had forecasted pollution levels 24 hours in advance during the mega sporting event last year.

WMO, through its technical report, also appreciated the concept of IITM to provide the Air Quality Index (AQI) of individual pollutants for the country instead of one AQI value, so that mitigation towards dominant sources becomes practical.

The system was set up at a cost of Rs 100 million (over USD 2 million).

"It is a big thing for us to get UN recognition for our project. We have recently got a letter from the ministry of earth sciences that the model will be replicated in six other cities," SAFAR project director Gurfan Beig said.

SAFAR is a computer model where data like wind, speed and humidity will be keyed in and the information will forecast the pollution level 24 hours in advance. The real-time data will help predict air quality 95 percent accurately.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has decided to dismantle the air quality stations from stadiums and Games village and is shifting them to 11 districts in the capital to provide a dedicated metro weather service.

'We have decided to start a metro weather service,' said Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

'As of now we provide region-wise temperature but soon people in different parts of the capital will know about the level of pollution -- oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, black carbon and benzene -- in the air,' he added

(Agencies)