AQI, also known as Air Quality Index is a measure used to determine daily air quality. AQI helps us understand how clean or polluted our air is. The higher the AQI value, the higher the level of air pollution. High AQI levels are associated with serious health effects. Every country has its own quality standard, which defines the quality of air present in that country.
AQI is more like a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500; the lower the value, the lower the level of air pollution. AQI is computed using air pollutant concentration over a specified averaging period obtained through an air model or monitor.
In India, the first national air quality index was launched in New Delhi by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi recently. This will cover 10 major cities: Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Each of these cities will have monitoring stations with AQI display boards. The aim is to cover 66 cities eventually.
- According to WHO, more than 6, 27, 000 Indians die every year from air pollution related diseases.
- Delhi has the highest annual average concentration of small air borne particles known as PM2.5. Increased rate of bronchitis is linked to the presence of these dangerous fine particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter.
- Air pollution is the seventh leading cause behind a loss of 18 million healthy years of life.
- About 1/3 rd of the Indian population is breathing air near critical levels of particulate matter pollution.