Air Quality Index

What is an air quality index? 

“The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.” (USEPA)

Does India use AQI to disseminate information on air pollution? 

Yes, India launched its own National AQI (NAQI) in 2015.

Read more about it here, here or here.

If you want to see how cities in India performed in 2015-16 in terms of air quality,  read this.

Where can I find AQI information?

Government sources

[1] CPCB website or SAMEER app

  • This link describes how the NAQI values are calculated in India. The index value is based on  eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2 , SO2 , carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) , ammonia (NH3) , and lead [Pb]), but in cases where not all the pollutants are monitored, data must be available for at least three pollutants for the NAQI to be calculated.
  • Read the full report on NAQI here.

[2] SAFAR website or app [only available for Delhi, Mumbai and Pune]

Independent Networks 

IndiaSpend Breathe [Link]

India Open Data Association [Link]


AQICN [Link]

How does India’s AQI compare with others? has the answer for you! Here is a chart that compares the different AQIs :


What else do I need to know? 

The AQI values are not actual pollutant concentrations, and as illustrated in the graphic above, countries use their own calculations for AQI. For example, concentrations that are labelled as ‘very high’ in UK are only ‘moderate’ or ‘poor’ in China and India respectively.

If you see an AQI value, remember that this value is relative. 

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