Save the Earth: How Big Data technology can help in reducing pollution

By Muqbil Ahmar

Climate change as well as global warming are realities facing humans. According to NASA, global temperatures have risen by over 1 degree since the year 1880. Moreover, 9 of 10 warmest years have happened after the year 2000. In 2012, Arctic ice decreased to the lowest level. Across the world, sea levels are rising at the rate of 3.4 mm per year. It won’t be long before large parts of habitation get submerged.

Rapid environment degradation in India

In India, the situation is alarming as well. There is an environmental degradation staring at us. Despite several measures being taken at the Centre and state levels, there has no let-up in air pollution levels and particulate matter pollutants in the air. Delhi Smog was a scary case. It is a reality check of the pollution in India’s big cities. Hazardous air quality levels exist in India. A World Health Organization’s study of 1,600 cities ranks national capital Delhi as most polluted. Air pollution was 40 times more than permissible safety limits prescribed by the WHO and 15 times greater than Indian standards.

pollution

Leverage Big Data and Analytics to fight pollution

Big Data is a collective term for data set so huge and complex that even traditional data-processing methods are insufficient. The technology processes the data sets to uncover hidden patterns and correlations, thus, leading to discovery of meaningful insights. Big Data tools use mathematical and statistical models, tools, and algorithms to discover trends and patterns including the ability to make predictions.

To leverage Big Data, sensors need to be located at strategic locations. They will yield data on parameters impacting pollution levels. With increase in affordable and sophisticated sensors, there will be massive quantities of data. The tools analyze the data to track pollution and at reduced costs. Such data, together with other information such as weather station data, demographic data and social media data can prove to be a treasure trove of insights and information.

For instance, if sensors discover air pollution becoming worse in particular areas, vehicular traffic can be diverted to other areas less congested. There could be other responses too: moving medical staff to areas with high pollution in anticipation of increased numbers of patients with respiratory diseases. This would help manage the problem on real-time basis. Street lights can be sensor-enabled so that they are self-adjusting according to the number of people in an area at any given time.

“Predictive Analytics as well as Big Data can be used for predicting consequences, such that data-driven decisions can be made in time and disasters are avoided,” said an official of a Big Data company.

Modern technologies must be leveraged to resolve the alarming situation as they can provide detailed knowledge and thus increase the chances for resolution. Needless to add, there is no time to lose.

I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @muqbil_ahmar and LinkedIn

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