On the anvil: A daily health advisory based on air pollution

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A daily health advisory in Delhi to warn people about the noxious air quality may be on its way.

The advisory intends to inform the public about the levels of carbon monoxide, ozone and other hazardous particles in the air, helping warn those with vulnerable lungs and also encouraging the public to curb unnecessary emissions.

There are already six monitoring stations across the city that document the levels of air pollution on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) website in real time. However, there is no way to easily interpret the data.

The DPCC is working on crunching those numbers for the public and using them as a warning device when the air quality is an issue.

DPCC member secretary Sandeep Mishra said it could take at least a month before the programme becomes active. He said he is working with health officials to ascertain the appropriate time to issue such a warning.

The DPCC stations monitor nine different potential air hazards and the website compares those on the state list individually to the national standard.

Mishra said with the six existing stations and two more on the way, the DPCC is working out whether to collaborate average levels state-wide on a daily basis or interpret the levels at individual stations and issue advisories accordingly.

Additionally, officials have to figure how the components interact with each other, also taking in factors such as wind, temperature and other weather traits, and what combination is most hazardous.

"The standards are there, but we need to know how to use them," Mishra said.

The tentative plan is to issue the warnings on the DPCC website and encourage people to spread the news.

A 2012 study by a World Health Organization initiative revealed that air pollution is among the leading causes of death in the world, especially in Asian cities that are developing rapidly. The report said 7.12 lakh people in South Asia, including India, died due to air pollution related ailments in 2010.

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