With the air pollution problem in India only growing worse with every passing year, keeping an eye on the quality of air in your surroundings has become mandatory. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure or air pollution used by government agencies to inform the public how severe the air pollution in their city is or how polluted it will become in the future.
The higher the AQI of a certain place, the higher the risk to public health and the more likely its citizens fall victim to chronic health conditions like asthma, stroke, emphysema and lung cancer.
How is air quality measured?
The Air Quality Index (AQI) works like a thermometer that runs from 0 to 500 degrees. But instead of showing temperature and changes in temperature over time, the AQI is a way of showing changes in the amount of pollution in the air.
While our planet’s atmosphere is an expanse of gasses (the more abundant ones being oxygen and nitrogen), there are also smaller quantities of particles present as well. AQI tracks these five major pollutants:
- Ground-level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Airborne particles, or aerosols
Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two of the main components of smog which is a type of air pollution that reduces visibility.
On any given day, the AQI will fall into one of these categories: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, hazardous.
Apps to check the air quality of your city
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) is an app that is developed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is India’s first-ever air quality forecasting system for Indian metro cities. The app is also multilingual, available in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati.
This app provides real-time and forecasts air pollution and weather data for more than 10,000 cities across 80+ countries around the world. They also offer recommendations on things you can do to avoid exposure to air pollutants.
Air quality by Plume Labs
This app provides an ‘air report’ and shows you real-time pollution levels in your area. It can also provide a similar report on global pollution trends, and forecasts of how air quality will evolve hour-by-hour over the next 24 hours. It also tells you the best time that you can do a certain activity with the least exposure to pollution.
Sameer, which translates to “air” in Sanskrit word, is the official app developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor air pollution. It gives you hourly updates about the air quality index of any location you choose. You can also register complaints with the CPCB on pollution levels in your area and view other complaints that have been registered in your area on Sameer.
This app provides real-time information on the AQI of your area while also giving you personalized health advice based on your location. AQI India also lets you compare the AQI of different places of upto one month ago.
It is only available on the Play Store.
The maps app on iPhones gives you the AQI of your location by default.
It is only available on the App Store.