Air Quality in India

Air pollution is a major concern in India. National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in 2014 to disseminate information on air quality in an easily understandable form for the general public. AQI has six categories of air quality. These are: Good, Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor and Severe. AQI is considered 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 an initiative under Swachh Bharat Mission (Cleanliness Mission).
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • What is Air Quality Index (AQI) ?

    The air quality index (AQI) is an index for reporting air quality on a daily basis. It is a measure of how air pollution affects one's health within a short time period. The purpose of the AQI is to help people know how the local air quality impacts their health. The measurement of air quality is based on eight pollutant - Particulate Matter (PM10), Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3), Ammonia (NH3), and Lead (Pb). The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concerns. The concept of AQI has been widely used in many developed countries for over the last three decades. AQI quickly disseminates air quality information in real-time.

  • Who is most at risk from air pollution?

    1. People with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 2. Infants and young children 3. People who work or exercise outdoors 4. Adults over 65 5. People with a cardiovascular disease 6. People in poverty; people who lack access to health care 7. People who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke 8. People working in occupations where there is high exposure to contaminated air 9. People who spend a lot of time near busy roadways

  • What are the primary causes of indoor air pollution in India?

    Main causes of indoor air pollution are harmful gases from cooking fuels (such as wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung), damp, mould smoke, chemicals from cleaning materials, etc.

  • What are the primary causes of outdoor air pollution in India?

    The primary causes of outdoor air pollution are solid, liquid particles called aerosols & gases from vehicles emissions, construction activities, factories, burning stubble & fossil fuels and wildfire, etc.

  • What are various Air Quality Index categories in India ?

    NAQI (National Air Quality Index) is tool that uses numbers to simplify air quality data by classifying pollution levels into 6 categories - good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor and severe, and denotes a color code on the basis of how harmful the pollution in a specific area is. Each of the pollutants - PM2.5, PM10, NO2, CO and Ozone, are assigned an air quality index (AQI) and thereafter an overall AQI is given daily indicating the value of the worst pollutant value for that area. This makes it easier for people to know how bad the pollution in their area is. 1. Good (0-50) Minimal impact 2. Satisfactory (51-100) Minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people 3. Moderate (101-200) Breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases 4. Poor (201-300) Breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure 5. Very Poor (301-400) Respiratory illness on prolonged exposure 6. Severe (401-500) Affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases