The levels of air pollutants are rising exponentially across the world. According to WHO, more than eighty percent of the urban population worldwide has exceeded the permissible air quality levels. Air is getting polluted both indoors and outdoors by harmful pollutants in the air. Some of the major air pollutants include Particulate matter, ozone, Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. These pollutants cause various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases that are causing fatal deaths worldwide. So, to prevent yourself from the ill effects of poor air quality, monitoring certain air parameters are not only essential but is the need of the hour. You can use certain apps to check the air quality level in your location or other cities to take preventive measures.
Causes of air pollution
- Transport emissions
- Indoor Combustion devices
- Industrial facilities
- Forest and crop burning
Permissible levels of air pollutants as per WHO
|O3 (8-hour mean)||100|
|SO2 (24-hour mean)||20|
Although WHO has prescribed limits for air pollutants but different countries have devised their own permissible standards according to their local environmental conditions.
- National Ambient Air Quality Standards in India
- European Union Air Quality Standards
- National Ambient Air Quality Standards United States
Best Apps to Monitor Air Quality in Different Cities
Air visual is an app for monitoring the key pollutants in the air and also forecasts the weather. The app is available on both the Android Play store and Apple iTunes. It covers six thousand cities spread across more than forty countries across the globe. When you install it, it will ask for your permission to access the current location. It will also update its database the first time you use it.
On the home screen, it will show the overall status of the air quality of the nearest monitoring station. The air pollutants are recorded by monitoring stations and it may be possible that there are no recording stations in your city or they are nearby your current location. In my case, the Airvisual app shows the status of the area that is 15 km from my current location.
On the upper left of the app screen, there is a plus sign. You can search for a particular location from its database of cities. Now if you need to check the values of different air pollutants, just click on the city report shown to you.
The detailed stats will show you a real-time forecast of the weather along with wind speed. The next section will show the concentration levels of 5 pollutants that include PM2.5, O3, NO2, SO2, and CO.
Below this, you can see the historical values of the air quality index (AQI). At the bottom of the report, this app will show you the current and other nearest monitoring stations in a graphical map.
- The app shows detailed information but needs to add more monitoring stations to cover more areas.
- On searching the city, the app takes a lot of time. (It might be quick on your mobile)
Overall it is a useful air-monitoring app with an organized user interface.
This a simple app to get information about the air quality in your area. After installation, it will ask you to access your location. Once granted, it will straightaway show the air quality index of your location. The app is quick and covers most locations across the world.
“Air quality index is one value derived from the concentrations of eight various pollutants. This is a simple measurement for a common man to check the air quality around him. Every country has its own AQI.”
Beezometer calculates the air quality in its own way considering the local AQI. It shows the meter reading between 0 to 100. More value means better air quality. What is best about this app is that depending on the result of AQI, it will advise you on what you should do to tackle the situation. It also allows you to share the air-quality status on various social media channels.
If you need to check the actual AQI of your location, you can move to three dots on the top-right of the screen and click it. Now from the drop-down menu, tap on local info. It will show you the exact AQI value of your area according to your country’s standards. It will show the values in different colors. The red color is for the worst situation and green is for good air quality.
The app shows the AQI of your current location automatically but if you want to know the Air quality index of some other location around the globe, you can easily search from the top of the screen by typing the city name and tapping on the search icon.
It does not show the concentrations of individual air pollutants.
Best app for the common man.
Air Quality Index India
Note: You can check the air quality Index for India on arthapedia.in
Download Air Monitoring Apps to Prevent Yourself from Toxic Air
There are many apps available in the play store but I have shortlisted the above two as best after testing them on my android phone. You need to be careful especially in the winter season when the fog mixes with moisture in the air and create hazardous chemicals in the air. You need to share this piece of information with the maximum number of people for whom you care.