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After China India's Air Quality on US Check List
Mar 05, 2015

The quality of air in India is now deemed so suspect that the US administration announced on that it is going to start monitoring it—both to protect staff in its own missions and American visitors, and to raise awareness in India about the runaway pollution that is bringing the country adverse attention across the world.

  • Led by the state department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the programme, called AirNow, builds on the monitoring service that began five years ago at the US embassy in Beijing and will now expand to New Delhi and other Asian capitals. 

  • AirNows' web-based platform will provide real-time information about the quality of air for people to make informed decisions.

  • This effort is going to provide foreign service officers, military men and women, and US citizens living or just visiting abroad with better information about the air that they are breathing, so that they can make healthier choices and hopefully mitigate some of the harmful impacts.

  • The programme is extension to cities beyond Beijing, which was thought to be the most polluted city in the world until New Delhi overtook.

  • The US indicated that the host countries, too, could benefit from the programme since the US will share data and expertise. 

  • As part of this new agreement with India and other countries, the US will create a fellowship programme that will send US experts to missions abroad in order to train personnel, transfer skills, and build capacity for air quality monitoring, not only among embassy staff, but also through training and exchanges with interested host governments.

  • In recent years, China has gotten a better sense of just how dangerous the levels of air pollution have become, and their citizens are increasingly demanding action. There was a time when poor visibility in cities like Beijing was blamed simply on excessive fog. But today, in part because of expanded air-quality monitoring in cities throughout China, the Chinese Government is now deeply committed to getting the pollution under control.

  • A recent study shows that levels of PM2.5 (Particulated Matter) in Delhi are routinely 15 times above levels considered safe by the WHO. 

  • New data suggest that, Delhi's air has been 45 percent more polluted than that of the Chinese capital for the past couple of years.


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