US Air Quality Index-Highlights

According to the recently released US Air Quality Index, Lahore has once again topped the list of world’s most polluted cities in the world. The report says that the particulate matter rating of Lahore was 423. Lahore was followed by New Delhi with a particulate matter rating of 229. Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal ranked third with a particulate matter rating of 178.

What is Air Quality Index?

Air Quality Index is an index that reports quality of air on daily basis. The index helps to measure how air pollution affects the health of the people living in and around the environment for a short period of time. The Air Quality Index is calculated based on five major air pollutants such as ground level Ozone, Sulphur Dioxide, carbon monoxide, Nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

Higher the level of Air Quality Index greater is the level of air pollution.

What are the categories of Air Quality Index?

  • If Air Quality Index is between 0 and 50 the quality is categorised as Good and it has minimal impacts.
  • If the Air Quality Index is between 51 and 100, the air quality is categorised as satisfactory. Satisfactory air quality levels may cause minor breathing difficulties to sensitive people.
  • If Air Quality Index is between 101 and 200, it is categorised as moderately polluted. Moderately polluted air quality might cause lung diseases such as asthma.
  • If Air Quality Index is between 201 and 300, it is categorised as poor. Poor Air Quality Index causes heart diseases.
  • If Air Quality Index between 301 and 400, it is categorised as a very poor. Very poor air quality might cause respiratory illness and prolonged exposure might lead to lung and heart diseases.
  • If Air Quality Index is between 401 and 500, it is categorised as severe. A severe air quality will cause respiratory issues in healthy people and will make it difficult for them to continue even light physical activities.

The above categories of air quality standards are set by central pollution control board of India.


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