Pollution crisis in India: Before you breathe, check out air quality index of your city today
New Delhi, Nov 04: The aftermath of Diwali is here for everyone to see, and breathe. The air quality (AQ) plunged to "severe" and "hazardous" this week across many cites in India. Thirteen cities alone in the country had an average air quality index (AQI) above 400, which falls in 'severe' category.
The need to check AQI (Air quality index) has become more than necessary. The AQI tells us how polluted the air currently is or how contaminated it is forecast to become in the coming days.
Pollution level in Delhi peaked to a three-year high on Sunday notwithstanding claims of heightened checks and curbs by authorities, while the Centre reviewed the situation with the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and announced that Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba would monitor it on a daily basis.
Delhi and its neighbouring cities recorded the worst air quality of the season on, forcing the authorities to declare a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools. The air quality index deteriorated to above 534, way over the 500-level that qualifies as 'Hazardous'.
According to the CPCB, if the AQI falls in 'severe' category, it affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with prevailing diseases, while "very poor" air quality can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Greater Noida's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 668 at 10 am on Monday. All government and private schools up till class 12 in Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed on November 4 and 5 in the wake of spike in the pollution level.
In Uttar Pradesh, Hapur had the worst average AQI of 860, followed by Bulandshahr (184), Ghazibad (723), Greater Noida (688), Baghpat (730), Lucknow (395), Kanpur (344), and Varanasi (252), the CPCB data showed.
Pollution levels of the millennium city of Gurugram entered the danger zone due to the burning of crops in rural areas of the State. Gurugram recorded 228 cubic meters percolate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), higher than normal days. Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) officials are preparing a report on the increase in pollution on Diwali and it will be available within two or three days.
On Saturday, the maximum level of PM 2.5, which has a permissible limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³), increased to 365 µg/m³. Last year post-Diwali, the maximum PM 2.5 level was recorded at 361µg/m³.
Citizens in Hyderabad breathed very dangerous air after Diwali night and the effect is still continuing. The station had recorded 'unhealthy' Air Quality Index, at 162.
Pollution levels in Faridabad district entered the danger zone due to the burning of crops in rural areas of the State. Faridabad recorded 499 cubic meters percolate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), higher than normal days.
While an air quality index (AQI) of 300 is considered hazardous, places in Delhi maxed out at 999 over the weekend. As the national capital continues to reel under 'hazardous' pollution levels, there was a drastic difference as the AQI of Delhi was 534 as compared to Mumbai's 152.
The air quality index in Chennai stood at an unhealthy 188 PM (Particulate Matter) since the past two days. However, the government is yet to release this year's data. It should be noted that the State government had fixed time slot (between 6 am and 7 am and 7 pm and 8 pm) for bursting of crackers in Tamil Nadu. However, despite the enforcement, many areas reported people continuing to burst fireworks during the day and night.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'. According to the bulletin, the average AQI in Silicon Valeey was recorded at 399 until 10 am.
Image Credit: http://aqicn.org/map/india/