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Government of India
Ministry of Environment and Forests
17-October-2014 17:38 IST
National Air Quality Index (AQI) launched by the Environment Minister AQI is a huge initiative under ‘Swachh Bharat’

AQI to act as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ to judge the Air Quality for Common Man: Shri PrakashJavadekar

 

The Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar today launched ‘The National Air Quality Index’ (AQI) in New Delhi.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Javadekar outlined the AQI, as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ for the common man to judge the air quality within his vicinity. The formulation of the index was a continuation of the initiatives under Swachh Bharat Mission envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi.

 

Elaborating further, the Minister stated that the index constituted part of the Government’s mission to introduce the culture of cleanliness. Institutional and infrastructural measures were being undertaken in order to ensure that the mandate of cleanliness was fulfilled across the country. As a part of the process, he mentioned that clean air would be a part of Peoples’ campaignto take up the issue in a mission mode. In order to widen the ambit of the culture of cleanliness, the Ministry proposed to discuss the issues concerned regarding quality of air with the Ministry of Human Resource Development in order to include this issue as part of the sensitizationprogramme in the course curriculum.

 

Under the new measurement process, Shri Javadekar stated that an effort had been made to include a comprehensive set of parameters. While the earlier measuring index was limited to three indicators, the current measurement index had been made quite comprehensive by the addition of five additional parameters. Under the current measurement of air quality, 8 parameters. The initiatives undertaken by the Ministry recently aimed at balancing environment and conservation and development.

 

Air pollution has been a matter of environmental and health concerns,particularly in urban areas. Central Pollution Control Board along with State Pollution Control Boards has been operating National Air Monitoring Program (NAMP) covering 240 cities of the country. In addition, continuous monitoring systems that provide data on near real-time basis are also installed in a few cities.

 

Traditionally, air quality status has been reported through voluminous data. Thus, it was important that information on air quality is put up in public domain in simple linguistic terms that is easily understood by a common person. Air Quality Index (AQI) is one such tool for effective dissemination of air quality information to people. An Expert Group comprising medical professionals, air quality experts, academia, advocacy groups, and SPCBs was constitutedand a technical study was awarded to IIT Kanpur. IIT Kanpur and the Expert Group recommended an AQI scheme.

 

There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.  The proposed AQI will consider eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.

 

Based on the measured ambient concentrations, corresponding standards and likely health impact, a sub-index is calculated for each of these pollutants. The worst sub-index reflects overall AQI. Associated likely health impacts for different AQI categories and pollutants have been also been suggested, with primary inputs from the medical expert members of the group. The AQI values and corresponding ambient concentrations (health breakpoints) as well as associated likely health impacts for the identified eight pollutants are as follows:

AQI Category, Pollutants and Health Breakpoints

AQI Category (Range)

PM10

24-hr

PM2.5

24-hr

NO2

24-hr

O3

8-hr

CO

8-hr (mg/m3)

SO2

24-hr

NH3

24-hr

Pb

24-hr

Good (0-50)

0-50

0-30

0-40

0-50

0-1.0

0-40

0-200

0-0.5

Satisfactory (51-100)

51-100

31-60

41-80

51-100

1.1-2.0

41-80

201-400

0.5 –1.0

Moderately polluted

(101-200)

101-250

61-90

81-180

101-168

2.1- 10

81-380

401-800

1.1-2.0

Poor

(201-300)

251-350

91-120

181-280

169-208

10-17

381-800

801-1200

2.1-3.0

Very poor

(301-400)

351-430

121-250

281-400

209-748*

17-34

801-1600

1200-1800

3.1-3.5

Severe

(401-500)

430 +

250+

400+

748+*

34+

1600+

1800+

3.5+

*One hourly monitoring (for mathematical calculations only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AQI

Associated Health Impacts

Good

(0–50)

Minimal Impact

Satisfactory

(51–100)

May cause minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people.

Moderately polluted

(101–200)

May cause breathing discomfort to people with lung disease such as asthma, and discomfort to people with heart disease, children and older adults.

Poor

(201–300)

May cause breathing discomfort to people on prolonged exposure, and discomfort to people with heart disease

Very Poor

(301–400)

May cause respiratory illness to the people on prolonged exposure. Effect may be more pronounced in people with lung and heart diseases.

Severe

(401-500)

May cause respiratory impact even on healthy people, and serious health impacts on people with lung/heart disease. The health impacts may be experienced even during light physical activity.

 

The report will also be available on CPCB’s website (www.cpcb.nic.in) for 45 daysfor seeking public views/comments. Thereafter, AQI scheme will be finalized after evaluating the comments received and incorporating changes if any in the scheme.

 

 

CP/GV

 

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