National Air Quality Index to monitor air quality

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National Air Quality Index to monitor air quality


    People in India would soon be able to know the quality of air around them. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on Friday launched, National Air Quality Index (AQI), which would give real time information of air quality aiming to create awareness about air quality in cities so that pressure on local authorities to take concrete steps for improving environment increases.

    Calling the launch of AQI part of prime minister Narendra Modi’s, ‘Swach Bharat’, campaign, Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said air quality improvement, water improvement and then waste management are all part of their plans.

    In India, there has been increasing concern over rising pollution in cities due to various reasons including vehicular pollution which has led to increasing health problems in those areas.

    “I have been to China and seen problem of smog. If we don’t act now India’s condition would be same in 10 years. Our purpose behind this index is to create awareness about air quality among people,” said Javadekar.
    “It won't be business as usual. In future we will act differently, we will succeed and we will take people along,” he added.

    The environment minister said they have tried to include a comprehensive set of parameters as against the earlier measuring index which was limited to three indicators. “The new measurement index has been made comprehensive by the addition of five additional parameters to those three,” said Javadekar while adding that his ministry has been taking environment conservation steps too besides clearing project files for development.

    He further said they are also trying to tie up with human resources development ministry for making “caring for nature” as part of school syllabus.

    Initiative of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), AQI was prepared in collaboration with developed by an expert group comprising medical professionals, air quality experts, academia, NGOs (like Centre for Science and Environment), state pollution control boards, IIT Kanpur and others.

    AQI proposes six AQI categories- good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor and severe and is likely to be operational by mid-December. It would be first launched in around 46 cities having population of over 10 lakhs and all State capital cities. It would, however, be extended to more cities subsequently. The index would basically enable a common man to understand the air quality in and around his city.

    MoEFCC secretary Ashok Lavasa emphasized that the, “air quality index is basically to alert people and drive them to take action”.

    “This index is to tell us what ari we breathe. So that we can force for taking action. We also need better planning of cities. Cities will also have to learn to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly,” Lavasa added.

    With AQI, people would be able to have real time information of air quality in their cities. The AQI would consider eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3 and Pb).

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