ISRO Satellites assessing Pollution Status

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Context: Pollution is a major issue in India, especially in the Northern region. ISRO has been assessing the status of pollution using its various satellites in recent years. ISRO has been carrying out monitoring of stubble burning since 2015. The products generated are comparable to the NASA products.

Mains: GS III- 

  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Pollution Assessment Data by ISRO: 

  • The Imager payload onboard ISRO’s INSAT-3D & 3DR satellites is used to monitor Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), which is an indicator of particles and smoke from biomass burning affecting visibility and increase of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration in the atmosphere.
  • It is found that AOD, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations are higher over Indo-Gangetic Plain covering parts of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar during October and November.
  • A high concentration of these pollutants is seen originating from parts of Punjab and Haryana during stubble burning.
  • A climatological study of satellite-based fire occurrences and associated pollutant parameters reveal that fire occurrences increased by 4% over Punjab and Haryana region during October- November between 2003 and 2017.
  • The model-based analysis suggests that there is a high probability of transportation of smoke aerosols from Punjab & Haryana, towards down-wind regions of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Using medium resolution Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite data, stubble burned area maps are generated at the end of stubble burning activity in Kharif season.


  • INSAT-3DR, similar to INSAT-3D, is an advanced meteorological satellite of India configured with an imaging System and an Atmospheric Sounder.
  • The significant improvements incorporated in INSAT-3DR are:
    1. Imaging in Middle Infrared band to provide night time pictures of low clouds and fog
    2. Imaging in two Thermal Infrared bands for estimation of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) with better accuracy
    3. Higher Spatial Resolution in the Visible and Thermal Infrared bands
  • Like its predecessor INSAT-3D, INSAT-3DR carries a Data Relay Transponder as well as a Search and Rescue Transponder.
  • Thus, INSAT-3DR will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions of ISRO and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological as well as search and rescue services.
  • INSAT-3DR has a lift-off mass of 2211 kg, which includes about 1255 kg of propellant. The propellant carried by INSAT-3DR is mainly required to raise the satellite from the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) to its final Geostationary Orbit and to maintain the satellite in its orbital slot during its life.
  • Payloads of INSAT-3DR: INSAT-3DR carries a multispectral imager, 19 channel Sounder, Data Relay Transponder and Search and Rescue Transponder.
    • Launch Vehicle: GSLV-F05 / INSAT-3DR
    • Type of Satellite: Earth Observation

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