: Air Quality Index (AQI) is the index monitored daily that allows the public to know the status of air in their local surroundings. It shows whether the air is polluted or clean. It is regarded as the major element to predict the quality of the air we breathe and its health effects on the human, based on the value defined by AQI (from 0 to 500).
It transforms all the complex air quality data of various pollutants into a simple index (numbers), colours and classifies them. It generally ranges from 0 to 500. However, anything above 300 is regarded as very dangerous to health and above 400 poses severe threats to cardiopulmonary disease. It is calculated using various parameters such as CO, SO2, NO2, O3 and Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10), where Particulate Matter having the diameter size less than 2.5 micrometre is the most commonly used parameters to calculate AQI.
Reasons to use AQI:
The main objective to promote and display AQI via online or on digital boards are :
- To inform the public about air quality in a comprehensible manner so that they may take action to protect their health.
- To help countries to develop and assess policies for better air quality.
- To compare the Air Quality among the cities or countries.
- To aware the public about the current environmental condition and probable threats to most vulnerable people.
Greater the AQI, higher the Health Impacts:
Yes, we create an alarming stage if AQI value reaches its peak. Human health is the most important matter to concern: Breathing difficulties, lung diseases like Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, Respiratory problems, counter-attack patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. Rather than this irritation, itching, skin related diseases, etc. are some common problems.
Who is more susceptible to High AQI?
The high value of AQI indicates a rise in air pollution or the poor quality of air. Generally, all people who are exposed to such poor air quality are at threats. If the time of exposure is high, the higher the chance of damage in health conditions. However, certain groups of people are highly affected by high AQI. Children, teenagers, old-aged people, including patients of lung diseases like Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, emphysema, etc. This also means to say people of any age group who are exposed to such faulty environments for a longer period of time are also affected by it.
Avoiding exposure or prolonged exposure is the best option unless and until it’s necessary to visit outdoors. When it’s necessary, we should always be very careful. Avoiding heavy traffic areas, shifting outdoor exercise to indoor, use of masks while walking, avoid burning woods, plastics, papers, etc. Enjoying indoor activities rather than outdoors with family, friends, colleagues and relatives. Use of online media or online works is the best. This reduces the chances of prolonged exposure and pronounced threats.
Kathmandu on the top of the World’s Worst Air Quality !!!!
The weather seemed to be foggy for almost 2 days but underneath the foggy weather, there hid the high concentration of Particulate Matter (PM). As a result, the AQI rises haphazardly. Open burning of woods, papers, plastics, use of old vehicles, incomplete combustion of fuels, exposure of unfiltered and unrefined gases from industries, etc. are the major causes. This was supported and further catalyzed by the weather pattern where the whole day was cloudy, foggy and the sunshine hour was almost negligible. The poorest air condition remained for 2 days, but the weather was good after. It seemed sunny and the sky was clear.
However, this is not the end. It’s just the beginning, and we need to think more on these issues. People are in the intermediate phase between the realistic and possibilistic world. A bit of awareness on environmental sanitation and hygiene is seen among the normal people. This might be a piece of good news indeed but till when?
Pollution levels are increasing day by day. People must be aware of these impacts observed on those 2 days. Those scary days must be in the mind to remember. Prevention must be taken, and people must be aware of critical health impacts. It’s all upon us, whether to get ready to mitigate as well as to adapt to these conditions.
The EPI (Environmental Performance Index), 2020 ranked Nepal in 145th out of 180 countries. It also ranked Nepal in 178th position in Air Quality as well as 150th position in Health (EPI, 2020). We can observe a slight improvement than in past years, although it’s insignificant.
The average PM2.5 of Kathmandu was found to be 45.9 μg/m³, 54.4 μg/m³ and 48 μg/m³ in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. We cannot simply analyze the trend of change in PM2.5 but we can say that anything wrong can happen at any time. An uncontrolled increase in its level can be observed in near future.
Furthermore, a total of six months of the year was marked with unhealthy air quality ratings concerning the PM2.5. Its concentration was at the peak in January (102.7 μg/m³) and December (75.6 μg/m³) starting and ending months were the polluted months in 2019. However August was the cleanest month with PM2.5 11.8 μg/m³.
Possible Causes for high AQI:
1. Stubble-burning, farm fires
2. Wind direction
3. Wind velocity
4. 125+ brick kilns active in Kathmandu valley
5. Unplanned urbanization and industrialization
6. Increasing Construction works
7. Downfall of Temperature
8. Cross-border pollution
9. Winter inversions
Let’s scroll down…..👇👇👇
Look at the same problem around us and their response.
A year ago in Delhi, in October, an Emergency alert was declared as the air quality kept on worsening day by day. This remains for almost a week.
Delhi, the capital of India was devoid of vivid atmospheric conditions. People were forced to breathe those plumes of toxic and dusty air as the AQI hit 484 out of 500.
Do you know, WHAT???– They banned all the construction works inside Delhi and around its neighbouring cities. The government ordered to shut the schools and offered masks for free. Even the 20-20 players were victimized by it.
However, Kathmandu being the metro city and hub of all services and facilities, techniques and technologies, experts and analysts did nothing. The central government, federal government and Local government were still unknown about the threats.
What a shame on the Government of Nepal, the concerned authorities and governmental experts. What were they waiting for? After the local experts analyzed and flashed out the real scenario, Concerned Ministry had a press release on that matter.
What has been Kathmandu planning and doing to mitigate such pollution issues despite the national scenario?
Request for all:🙏🙏🙏
Same problems with intensive effects can emerge in any form today or tomorrow. We must stop as much as we can. I hereby request all the people to support clean energy as much as we can, contribute less to activities that lead to air pollution, and stay vigilant on environmental-health issues.
Whereas, Dear leaders and Experts in the concerned Ministry and Departments, make your eye open and focus all over. Study the probable events, stay alert, make plans and policies and lead a green and healthy Nepal.
You really think air on Earth can create life?🤔🤔🤔