National Air Quality Index (AQI) has been launched for monitoring the quality of air in major urban centres across the country on a real-time basis and enhancing public awareness for taking mitigative action.
The Union Environment Ministry proposes to extend the measurement of air quality to 22 state capitals and 44 other cities with a population exceeding one million.
Salient features of the Index:
• The Index is centred around five chief pollutants: Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.
• The unit of measurement is microgram (or milligram in the case of CO) per cubic meter.
• The AQI has been at present launched for 10 cities — Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
• The AQI has been developed by the Central Pollution Control Board in consultation with IIT-Kanpur and an expert group comprising medical, air-quality professionals and other stakeholders.
• India has joined the global league of countries like the US, China, Mexico and France that have implemented smog alert systems.
• India has set standards for a particular level of pollutant. Here’s what the code is: