Air pollution needs no introduction in 2021. With Diwali behind us now, the bursting of crackers and the ongoing stubble burning in North India means entire cities from Delhi to Lucknow to Kanpur are now covered in layers of smoke, reducing visibility and the overall safe breathability of air in residential areas.
There are a number of Air Quality checking apps that you can use to know the status in your city. We’ll show you a few of these apps that you can use in your city. However, first, let us get a quick recap on how air quality is measured and what terms like AQI stand for.
How is Air quality measured?
Air quality is measured by taking into account a number of factors that come together on a uniform scale that helps citizens make sense of data. This unifying number is the AQI or Air Quality Index rating.
The AQI levels range from 0 to 500 degrees and shows changes in the amount of pollution in the air. The AQI number tracks five major air pollutants – Ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, and airborne particles or aerosols such as PM2.5 and PM10.
AQI ratings can be measured in your area via services like aqicn.org or SAFAR India (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research).
Understanding AQI levels
The lower the AQI rating of your region, the cleaner the air quality is. Here’s a quick chart for all rating ranges. Check out the chart below to know more.
AQI measuring services, apps
SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) India is a website you can visit to get detailed information directly from Ministry of Earth Science, Govt. of India and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune. Users will get forecasts of AQI levels and detailed insights including PM10 and PM2.5 levels.
aqicn.org covers most major cities and other areas and sources its data from official local AQI-data providing services.
Breezometer is a feature-rich app that can get your location data either automatically or manually and show AQI information accordingly. Besides that, there is also a real-time map view that quickly lets you gauge how good or bad the air quality is in neighbouring regions as well.
The app also has an exposure tracker page that will keep a track of all polluted areas you visit over time and maintain a personal chart of exposure levels. Users can also choose between LAQI (Local AQI) or BAQI (Breezometer AQI) data for more accurate information.
Another nice app you can try out is IQAir+. The app resembles a typical weather forecast application and will show you detailed AQI data as well as forecasts for the next few days. There is a maps view here as well and you also get other data like wind speed, precipitation and the weather.
A health recommendation section will also show you what activities and encouraged and discouraged in your area as per the conditions, including wearing a mask, outdoor exercise and leaving windows open.
For those who don’t want a detailed insight on air pollution in their area, the default Google Search application may be all you need. Simply search for “air quality near me” or “air quality in Mumbai (or any other city)” to get quick AQI information for your locations of interest.