KSPCB planning air quality index alert and display

KSPCB planning air quality index alert and display

Besides real-time updates on air pollution, the board will issue alerts whenever air pollution spikes. This file picture shows smoke billowing from a chimney at Makali, Tumakuru Road. DH PHOTO

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is planning to take a leaf out of Delhi's book to keep citizens and lawmakers updated on the rising air pollution in Bengaluru. 

An alarm is raised in Delhi when the Air Quality Index (AQI) crosses the severe mark.

In Bengaluru, apart from real-time updates on air pollution, the Board wants to sound an alert when the pollution levels spike.

Though the criteria for sounding an alert may wary compared to the Delhi scenario, officials here noted that the impact on health is more or less the same.

“Though, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is not as alarming as in Delhi, the particulate matter levels (PM 2.5 and PM 10) are high in Bengaluru like in other cities. So, informing the public of a spike in AQI is a good idea. But, the government has to agree to the idea,”  a senior KSPCB official told DH.

According to the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) bulletin issued on January 13, the AQI of Bengaluru was 127, and of Delhi an alarming 414. Bengaluru AQI was rated moderate while Delhi's was severe.

“With shrinking lung space, increasing construction activities and vehicles, the PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels will rise further. So, KSPCB is planning to install a huge AQI display of all stations at Hudson Circle. Having an alarm system will be beneficial as well,” the KSPCB official said.

As per CPCB norms, an AQI ranging between 0-50 is rated as good with minimal impact. 51-100 is considered satisfactory, which can cause minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people. A score between 101-200 is considered moderate and implies breathing discomfort. AQI of 201-300 is rated poor and means definitive breathing discomfort. A very poor rating is given when the AQI is between 301-400. This could lead to respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. The severe rating is when the AQI is above 401, and leads to respiratory problems even for healthy people.

According to KSPCB data, the AQI of Bengaluru on January 10 and 11 from 6 am to 6 pm showed a satisfactory score of 92 only in Basaveshwaranagar.  Meanwhile, in Hebbal it was 137, in Jayanagar 138, at Kavika on Mysuru Road 128, at Nimhans 113, at Central Silk Board 107 and at the City Railway Station 118 -- all coming under the moderate category.