Air Quality Index and Permeable Pollutants
I could feel that the air was heavy, I was short of breath more often, and it hurt to breathe. I figured some of this could be due to the billowing black smoke diving out from the backs of trucks and cars, as well as the burning plastic and grass that charred the ground and fumed up into the air. Dust would also rise up as cars or wind took to the dirt roads. I would periodically be cleaning bits of red sand from my glasses, the corners of my eyes, and around my nostrils. I also took a guess that there may not be many safe regulations around different industrial sites in the city.
A world away and years later in New Delhi, I looked on at auto-rickshaw drivers and acknowledged the fact that they spent hours a day, everyday toting people around the city. They breathed in the air, many not wearing any protection, and the thought of this made me want to change the reality, however small of a change that could be. The sources of air pollution came beyond the rows of vehicles that passed by each other daily, but what is in the air exactly, that makes it so harmful to breathe?
The non-profit World Air Quality Index runs a real-time world air quality index by gathering data from over 10,000 air monitoring stations around the world. Selection of which stations to choose is based off of multiple Environmental Protection Agencies' standards. Because the data is in real-time, validity is not ensured, but multiple measures are set in place to detect abnormal readings to enhance accuracy. There are various types of air pollutants that are measured, and here I focus on particulate matter.
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