Air pollution in Delhi has risen once again after Diwali. Though the damage to Delhi air quality in 2017 is lower than it was last year, it was still rated as ‘Very Poor’. According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Air Quality Index (AQI), the air quality was between 342 and 355 on Friday morning; last year, the morning after Diwali the index had touched 999. Whether you live in Delhi or any other metro, you would want to check the air pollution level before stepping outside. We take a look at some of the apps and websites, as well as gadgets, you can use to check air pollution level in areas around you conveniently.
Apps to check air pollution levels
Plume Air Report
The focus for Plume is on giving you a quick description of the pollution level in your city – with terms ranging from “moderate”, and “extreme” to – we’re not making this up – “airpocalypse”. You can swipe to see the highest score for PM2.5 (particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less), PM10, Ozone (O3), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). You can get real-time figures on the app – free on both Android or iOS – and its website. Apart from the figures, it also provides suggestions on the feasibility a variety of outdoor activities – be it sports, cycling, going out with your baby, or eating outside.
Air Quality: Real time AQI
Termed the Air Quality Index (AQI), this Android-only app updates its measurements for PM2.5 and PM10 each hour. Apart from a widget for your home screen, you can also see detailed monthly history, maps showing the places sensors are located, and a colour-wise description of the AQI value presented to you.
You can get all of the aforementioned information on its website as well, which may not look very nice, but does provide a bucketload of info – O3, NO2, Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Temperature, Dew, Pressure, Humidity, and Wind in addition to PM2.5 and PM10 – at one glance.
Websites to check air pollution levels
Apart from the aforementioned websites of the air quality tracking apps, here are some websites that provide useful data over and above the same information.
If you’re interested in learning more about the sources and causes of pollution, SatAQ’s website has a few helpful widgets and charts, powered by NASA’s Worldview platform and Earth.net’s wind patterns. In the case of New Delhi, you can tell at a glance where the problem is originating – a (deadly) combination of burning crop stubble in the state of Punjab, and a south-easterly airflow carrying the particulate matter right onto the capital.
An acronym for System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, SAFAR is a collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune. The system works off monitoring stations installed in various “micro-environments”, such as residential, industrial, agricultural zone, traffic junctions, and so forth. It’s currently available only for three cities: New Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. Use it via its website, which works quicker than the poorly designed app for Android and iOS.
Gadgets to check air pollution levels
Smart Air Filters is a clean-tech startup that promotes affordable air purifiers and DIY kits. The company also sells a reasonably priced air quality monitor on its website, the Laser Egg. It instantly measures the air quality in the immediate surroundings, and can show you the PM2.5 concentration, AQI (US EPA and Chinese standards), and particulate count. It has an eight hour battery life. You can buy the Laser Egg on the Smart Air website, for Rs. 9,995.
Unlike the Laser Egg, Wynd not only monitors the air around you but can also purify it, removing dust, allergens, smoke, and pollution in the process. And oh, did we mention it’s portable? It weighs less than a pound, can fit in standard cupholders, and the company claims it can deliver over 8 liters of clean air per second. You can check its data measurements on an app, or rely on the tracker light’s colour to tell air quality. It costs $199 ( roughly Rs. 13,000).
Do you have any other ideas to monitor air pollution in your area? Leave them in the comments below.