Bhopal: From good and satisfactory levels over the years, the air quality index (AQI) of major cities in Madhya Pradesh is moving from ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ level. The AQI of Bhopal for example was 65 on May 10 last year. Exactly a year later, it is at a worrisome 170 now.
The AQI of Jabalpur too increased from 47 to 149 this year. AQI of Gwalior was 68 last year which had increased to 116 now. Air pollution went up in Indore as well — from 141 to 157.
Air quality is measured taking into account the levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (Nox), RSPM10 and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air. While the rise in sulphur dioxide is due to vehicle emissions, the increase in nitrogen oxide is due to human activity, including vehicles and sewage, among others.
Officials said, PM10 is due to dust, construction, including building of roads while PM2.5 is due to dust, human activity and climatic conditions. Of the four, officials said, ‘PM 2.5’ is the ‘most harmful’ to health since it causes severe lung diseases, officials added.
Air quality index between 0 and 50 is termed as good with minimal possible health impacts while air quality between 51 and 100 is satisfactory but may lead to minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people. Air quality above 100 is moderate and leads to breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases.
AQI above 200 leads to breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure.

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