India accounts for half of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world. There are two ways you can monitor real time air pollution levels of some cities. The Air Quality Index (AQI) can be accessed from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change site. The AQI is color coded (Green for good to Maroon for severe). Alternatively, you can also check the ‘World Air Quality Index’ project’s India page.
What You Can Do To Reduce Air Pollution In Your City:
- Use less personal vehicles and more of public transport. Walking and cycling are the greenest forms of transport.
- Invest in fuel efficient and greener vehicles. Petrol is greener than diesel and CNG is greener than both. Two-wheelers consume roughly one-third the fuel used in cars. Maintain your vehicle to get the best efficiency out of it.
- If you can afford it, use an electric or hybrid car.
- If possible, stay closer to work or work remotely.
- Car pool to work and use ride sharing apps. You can offer vacant seats on your way to work through some apps.
- Maintain an overall clean approach towards your city, and country – compost organic waste on site, segregate every waste at source for better recycling and do not burn garbage.
- Consume less electricity. More electricity = more coal = more air pollution.
- Invest in solar and other renewable energies for free, clean power.
- Keep the roads clean. Dust is the biggest cause of particulate matter (PM) in Delhi.
- Educate people about ways to lead a greener life.
By monitoring the pollution levels, you can decide whether it is safe for you to go out of the house or not. If PM levels are high, you can wear an air pollution mask or use a mildly soaked handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth. Make sure the mask is a snug fit. Please note that masks can protect against PM and dust but not from pollutants such as oxides of sulphur, nitrogen and carbon.
If you live in a polluted area, invest in an air purifier. Philips, Kent, Eureka Forbes, Honeywell, Panasonic, Sharp and a few other brands sell air purifiers in India. There are portable models for cars too. Go for the right size and one with good low maintenance filters (preferably HEPA) and ionizers. Some air conditioners also have in-built air purification systems.
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