The AQI will act as an alert system, giving people details of air quality and information on its likely health implications. This information will be in real time. While the aim of India’s AQI is to cover 66 cities overall, as of now it covers 10—including Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Cities will be rated in a range from 0 to 500 depending on the quality of their air. A range from 0-50 is good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 indicates moderate pollution, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and anything above that means severe. While a rating of ‘good’ means that there is no impact on health due to air quality, a ‘severe’ rating means even healthy people may be affected. There is also a colour code for these pollution levels, with green, for example, representing the good 0-50 range.
The Central Pollution Control Board developed the index in consultation with IIT-Kanpur and other expert groups. With the launch of the AQI, India has joined countries such as the US, France, China and Mexico—all of which have similar systems in place.