TecKnow of the day
The AQI can increase due to an increase of air emissions (for example, during rush hour traffic or when there is an upwind forest fire) or from a lack of dilution of air pollutants. Stagnant air, often caused by an anticyclone, temperature inversion, or low wind speeds lets air pollution remain in a local area, leading to high concentrations of pollutants, chemical reactions between air contaminants and hazy conditions. On a day when the AQI is predicted to be elevated due to fine particle pollution, an agency or public health organization might:
◾advise sensitive groups, such as the elderly, children, and those with respiratory or cardiovascular problems to avoid outdoor exertion.
◾declare an “action day” to encourage voluntary measures to reduce air emissions, such as using public transportation.
◾recommend the use of masks to keep fine particles from entering the lungs.
During a period of very poor air quality, such as an air pollution episode, when the AQI indicates that acute exposure may cause significant harm to the public health, agencies may invoke emergency plans that allow them to order major emitters (such as coal burning industries) to curtail emissions until the hazardous conditions abate. Most air contaminants do not have an associated AQI. Many countries monitor ground-level ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and calculate air quality indices for these pollutants. The definition of the AQI in a particular nation reflects the discourse surrounding the development of national air quality standards in that nation. A website allowing government agencies anywhere in the world to submit their real-time air monitoring data for display using a common definition of the air quality index has recently become available.