Sunday, 22 August 2010

Color code to indicate quality of air

Delhi will soon have color coded air quality meters. Green to indicate the air is safe to breathe. Red to warn when air quality is bad. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM) in Pune are ready to launch the air quality measuring and forecasting system in New Delhi, ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

This is beneficial to the common man who may not be familiar with technical terminology (like ppm /ppb /ppt or µg/mg 3 ).

The project, part of the System of Air Pollution Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), will be unveiled next week. It includes a technical report that scientifically evaluates air quality standards and defines air quality index. Scientists have used mathematical models and evaluated Indian air quality guidelines to design a national Air Quality Index (AIQ). The scale is designed to help one understand how air around affects health, says Dr Gufran Beig, Project Director of SAFAR.

It is a health protection alarm to help one protect health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution by adjusting activity levels to low during increased air pollution.

It pays particular attention to people sensitive to air pollution and advices them on how to protect health.

The AQI reports current air quality based on a specific level of an individual air pollutant and communicates a number from 1 to 500 indicating quality. Higher the number, greater the health risk. When pollution is very high, the number will be above 300, explains a scientist.


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