Air Quality index (AQI) is method of making easy to understand comparison of Air quality numbers for different regions. Today Environmental pollution has become serious issue. Similarly it has also become need to spread the awareness about pollution by publishing pollutants present in environment for particular cities. But normally air pollution is defined in numbers of pollutants present in air with their quantities or concentrations. This should be done in simpler way as layman may not understand the numbers and technical terms provided by authorities. So there is a need of indexing concentrations of major parameters with a number which will give an idea to citizens in non-technical way.
What is Air quality Index?
Air quality index (AQI) or Air Pollution Index can be defined as weighted average of Environmental Pollutants concentrations with air quality standards allowed by Pollution control board. In simple way we can say that it’s a relative numbers as compared to Air quality standards defined by pollution control board. it can be measured by Environmental Monitoring
Air quality Index Parameters
In day to day life Suspended Particulate Matters (SPM), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX) and Ozone (O3) are considered harmful to human health. Air quality index or Air Pollution Index can go up if wind speed is low, sudden rise in temperature because air pollutants remain in area without getting diluted. Many countries have notified to public to use public transportation if there is rise in AQI. It can be made easier to understand by plotting wind rose with available data.
Uses of Air pollution Indices
- It helps in creating awareness in citizens about air quality
- It also helps in comparing air qualities of different cities
- Data can be used for development of system to avoid pollution or management of air pollution
Read More About Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Types of Air Quality Indices
There are two types of Air quality indices depending upon their purposes.
- Short-term Air quality indices: Short term indices can provide data for public on daily level.
- Long-term Air quality Indices: Long-term indices are intended to examine change over period of several years. These indices can be very helpful to understand trends in Air pollution and also gives an idea of effectiveness current enforcement policies.
Air Pollution Index Calculation
There are several Methods available to determine Air Quality Index. We will see only some of the important methods in AQI Calculation.
- In First method, addition of percentages of all parameters with their standards.
- In second method, Average of Percentages of all parameters with their standards
- In third method, Addition of Air quality index is calculated for each parameters based on their level of presence
- In Fourth method, this is maximum type method. Only one pollutant based on its Index, which is highest is reported
- In Fifth Method, Only Sulphur Dioxide and Particulate matters are taken into consideration to calculate Air Pollution index
- In Sixth method, only one major pollutant is reported.
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Also research and development is going on to create scientifically defensible method to calculate Air quality method. Also the major focus of that method is to calculate effects of Pollutants on Human health, Animals and Plants etc.
Rating scales for Indices
|Air Quality Index Value||Remarks||Colour|
|26-50||Light Air Pollution||Yellow|
|51-75||Moderate Air Pollution||Orange|
|76-100||Heavy Air Pollution||Red|
|101-300||Severe Air Pollution||Purple|
Display Indices for Public
Many Countries (Including India) show/publish city wise air quality indices via newspapers, websites, radio, real-time at certain locations and televisions.
To Summarize, It is better to have single methodology to express Air Pollution index for one country, so that it becomes easy to take decisions based on Indices. So All pollution control boards of a country should set one procedure to calculate air Quality indices.