Indexing Method for Assessment of Air Quality: A Case Study for Dharamshala City in India

Indexing Method for Assessment of Air Quality: A Case Study for Dharamshala City in India

Rajiv Ganguly (Jaypee University of Information Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7289-3.ch003
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Rapid urbanization and globalization has led to severe degradation of existing air quality in the majority of Indian cities. In this context, the general public has been aware of their exposure to ambient air quality and the effects of such air pollutants on human health. Hence, the concept of Air quality indices (AQI) is often used by regulatory authorities in conveying the status of existing ambient air quality to the general public. The chapter presents the application of air quality indices for assessing the existing air quality standards in an Indian city, Dharamshala, a tourist location in Himachal Pradesh, for the period of 2016-2017. Two different methods of determining AQI have been used wherein one method is used as the revised Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India with different sub-indices for Indian conditions based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) methodology and another alternative method utilizes contribution from all criteria pollutants.
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Air pollutants generated from vehicular exhausts are one of the major sources of pollution in cities of India and worldwide (Ganguly et al., 2014, 2015; Kumar et al., 2013, 2015, 2016). The important criteria air pollutants generated from traffic sources are nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM) and several metals (Ganguly and Broderick, 2008). Criteria pollutants are those pollutants whose limiting concentrations in atmosphere has been predefined as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to minimize their effects on human health. Continuous and long-term exposure to such pollutants can lead to severe health impacts including asthma and respiratory problems (Anderson et al., 2011; Clark et al., 2010; Heal et al., 2012), inadequate development of lung functions in infants and small children (Gauderman et al., 2007), cardiovascular diseases (Lindgren et al., 2010) and may lead to cancer (Buffler et al., 2005; Langholz et al., 2002). In this context, ambient air quality standards have been fixed for these criteria pollutants in most of the developing and developed countries. In an Indian context, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has specified the NAAQS for such pollutants as shown in Table 1.

Table 1.
National ambient air quality standards
PollutantTime Weighted AverageCPCB, 2009)European Union (EU) Air Quality DirectiveWorld Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines
Industrial AreasResidential, Rural and Other AreasSensitive Areas
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) μg/m3Annuala806015
24 hb1208030
Oxides of Nitrogen (NO2) μg/m3Annuala8060154040
24 hb1208030200 (not to exceed 18 times in a year)200
Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) μg/m3/PM10Annuala360140704020
24 hb50020010050 (Not to be exceeded on more than 35 days per year)50 (99th percentile, 3 days per year)
Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) /PM2.5μg/m3Annuala12060502510
24 hb1501007525 (99th percentile, 3 days per year)
Lead (Pb) mg/m3Annuala1.00.750.50
24 hb1.51.000.75
Ammonia (NH4) mg/m3Annuala0.10.10.1
24 hb0.40.40.4
Carbon Monoxide (CO) mg/m38 hb5.02.01.0
1 h10.04.02.0
Ozone μg/m38 hb120100

However, 2% of the time, it may exceed but not on two consecutive days.

aAnnual arithmetic mean of minimum 104 measurements in a year taken twice a week 24 hourly at a uniform interval.

b24 hourly/8 hourly values should be met 98% of the time in a year.

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