Air Quality Indexes (AQIs) are a powerful tool for assessing air pollution. This article will explore the AQI, its components, and the pollutants that it measures in order to give you a clearer understanding of what it does. If you want to learn more about what is good indoor air quality, please visit this page.
Major air pollutants included in the AQI
Particulate Matter: (PM2.5 and 10). PM2.5 is fine dust with a maximum diameter of 2.5 micrometers. PM10 contains particles as small as 10 micrometers. Particles of either type can cause respiratory problems when inhaled deeply, and this is especially true at high levels.
Ground-Level Ozone: This ozone can be formed by sunlight and pollutants from automobiles or industrial sources. The respiratory system can be irritated by high ozone levels, which may lead to difficulty breathing.
Carbon Monoxide CO: Carbon monoxide, also known as carbon dioxide (CO), is an odorless, colorless gas that results from incomplete combustion fossil fuels. Carbon monoxide can impair the body’s oxygen transport and be especially harmful when in an enclosed space with inadequate ventilation.
Sulfur Dioxide(SO2): Sulfur Dioxide, or SO2, is the gas that results from burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal. The respiratory system can be irritated by short-term exposures to high SO2 levels. This may worsen existing respiratory conditions.
Nitrogen Dioxide, or NO2, is a gas that can be produced from combustion processes in power plants and vehicles. It is irritating to respiratory systems and can contribute to ground-level pollution.
Calculating the AQI
Each pollutant has its own AQI, calculated based upon concentrations and standards based on health. The highest AQI score amongst these pollutants determines the overall AQI at a given location. AQI reflects only the pollutants that have the highest health impacts at any time.
How to interpret the AQI levels for individual pollutants
The AQI scale divides each pollutant into categories, which represent the different health concerns, as discussed in the preceding article. They help to assess the risks of specific pollutants. The AQI category for PM2.5, for instance, indicates the risk of the fine particles, particularly for sensitive people.
You can also read our conclusion.
The AQI assesses air quality comprehensively by looking at multiple air pollutants. Each air pollutant has its own impact on health. Individuals and communities who understand the components of the AQI, as well as how it’s calculated can make more informed decisions in order to reduce the impact they have on the environment and protect their own health.