How Is Air Quality Measured?

By | January 16, 2023

There are some areas in every country where the quality of air is poor. This brings about the very important question; “How is air quality measured?”. Knowing how to measure air quality will help you know if the air around you is affecting your health negatively or positively.

Air quality is very important since impurities in the air can cause some life-threatening diseases. The air is made up of a mixture of gases. 78% of these gases

nitrogen with oxygen taking 20%. There are other non-harmful gases that contribute 2% to the air.

All these gases make living on the planet earth possible. There are instances where some foreign gases or materials mix with these gases. When that happens, the air becomes impure for all living things. That is the main reason why it is very important to know how to check the quality of the air we breathe.

How Is Air Quality Measured?

Air quality is measured with what is known as the Air Quality Index or AQI as people simply refer to it. The AQI works in a similar way to a thermometer works. The chart provides the values of measurement between 0 to 500 where the higher the number, the more polluted the air is.

An increase in AQI levels means the air around the specific area where the AQI is high is experiencing air pollution. Check the table below to see how the AQI is used.

Daily AQI ColorLevels of ConcernValues of IndexDescription of Air Quality
GreenGood0 to 50Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
YellowModerate51 to 100Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
OrangeUnhealthy for Sensitive Groups101 to 150Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.
RedUnhealthy151 to 200Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
PurpleVery Unhealthy201 to 300Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.
MaroonHazardous301 and higherHealth warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected.

This table is not used alone. There are devices that aid in knowing which values are available to fill the AQI Index values.

How Is Air Quality Measured

Instruments for checking the quality of air

There are many instruments that help to collect data for the AQI. Some of these instruments are stationed in particular areas to collect data on the particles in the air.

Satellites also have technology in place to detect the particle concentration in the air. According to the facts available, satellites can provide particle pollution data within a specific area in five minutes.

There are also pollution meters available that you can purchase to use. These meters usually come in handy because most of them have all meters you need in your daily life built into them. I’m talking about one device that is able to check any kind of particle within your house including humidity levels.

They are not expensive and you can get one for as little as $16 on AliExpress (Of course is a discounted price).

How to reduce air pollution

The pollution in the air is mainly caused by human activities. While some of these activities can not be prevented at the moment, there are some that we can stop completely.

One of the activities we can not stop completely is burning fossil fuels. Nuclear plants that generate electricity rely so much on these fossil fuels. Not burning them means there will be no light.

With that in mind, let us look at some of the things we can do by ourselves to avoid air pollution.

  • We do have electric cars now. If you can afford it, go fully electric to avoid burning gasoline. Combine walking and cycling with driving so you won’t always have to move your car.
  • Smoking is one of the things that pollute the air. Avoid it or prevent others from smoking within your confined space.
  • Do not use pesticides in your garden since most of them contain strong chemicals that might pollute the air.

There are so many things we can do to improve the quality of air within our confinement but these are just a few of them. 

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