AETHAER real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) tracker

Overall AQI

Air Pollution Levels

Air pollution can affect your health in a number of ways and has both short term and long term consequences. AQI (Air Quality Index) is a measure of how much air pollution is present, and comprises a number of factors. The measurement of each of these factors are entered into an algorithm which results in an AQI reading, the value of which gives us an indication of the overall pollution we are exposed to, and what health implications this will have on us

AQI 0-50
Air Quality is considered satisfactory and air pollution poses little or no risk
AQI 51-100
The air contains some pollutants, and while these may be few, they can pose a threat to your overall well-being
AQI 101-150
Air pollution is at a level that can cause long-term health issues
AQI 151-200
There are a significant level of pollutants present that may threaten your immediate health, as well as contributing to longer lasting health issues
AQI 201-300
Air quality is at a critical level. You may feel the damaging effects immediately, and you can harm your longer term well-being
AQI 301-400
Pollutants are at a severe concentration level. Your immediate health is in danger and constant exposure has a higher probability of causing long term damage
AQI 401+
Air pollution has reached the worst levels on the Air Quality Index. You are at an extremely high risk of becoming critically ill, and causing long term damage with prolonged exposure

Factors affecting AQI

Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5)

Particulate matter (PM) can be made of solid particles or liquid droplets, and range in size; some are visible to the naked eye, while others require an electron microscope to view them. Particles are either released directly into the air through emissions, or form as a result of other pollutants reacting in the atmosphere. While a single human hair is approximately 70 micrometres in diameter, the Particulate Matter that poses the greatest threat are 10 micrometres in diameter and less, and cause or aggravate significant health problems, such as heart and lung disease, seemingly unrelated cancers, mental illness and brain damage, all of which contribute to the premature death-toll associated with air pollution. Other diseases associated with PM exposure include asthma and chronic bronchitis, while existing respiratory or coronary conditions worsen with exposure to Particulate Matter

Coarse Particles (PM10)

Course inhalable particles, have diameters ranging from 10 micrometres down to 2.5 micrometres, and usually consist of road and agricultural dust, construction, demolition and mining, or are the result of a mechanical break-up of even larger particles. PM10 particles are usually deposit in the upper airways of the human respiratory system

Fine Particles (PM2.5) & Ultrafine Particles (PM0.1)

Fine inhalable particles, have diameters between 2.5 micrometres and 0.1 micrometres, while Ultrafine Particles have a diameter of 0.1 micrometre or less. Fine Particles and are typically emitted from motor vehicle brake emissions, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, some industrial and combustion processes, while Ultrafine Particles are predominantly emitted from vehicle exhaust. PM2.5 and PM0.1 particles can easily reach the smallest airways within the human respiratory system, and are absorbed through the alveolar-capillary membrane. Once in the bloodstream, the particles are carried and deposited around the body in various organs

Gaseous Pollutants (SO2, CO, NOx and O3)

Gaseous pollutants include Sulphur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides and Ozone as well as other inorganic and organic aerosols. These chemicals enter our body when we breathe, and cause significant health issues that not only damage our respiratory system, but also damage cells throughout our body, making us susceptible to allergies and weakening our immune system. This in turn paves the way for other diseases and illnesses to affect us when previously we would have been able to prevent them, ultimately leading to higher sickness rates and premature deaths

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

Sulphur Dioxide is a colourless reactive gas produced during combustion of fuels such as coal and oil from power plants and refineries. SO2 irritates the respiratory system, causing the airways to constrict. Typically, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath are attributed to inhaling Sulphur Dioxide, and long term exposure can cause further respiratory illness and aggravate asthma

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon Monoxide gas is formed from vehicle exhaust, industrial processes and wildfires, and is colourless and odourless. Once Carbon Monoxide is inhaled and enters the bloodstream, it prevents oxygen reaching the body’s organs and tissues, leading to immediate effects such as degraded mental alertness and vision, headaches, dizziness, chest pains, and can lead to more serious illness and death

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) refers to Nitric Oxide (NO), which include Nitrous Acid and Nitric Acid, and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). NOx are a by-product of vehicle, power-plant, and industrial emissions, and are also released by construction, farming, and gardening equipment. NOx reacts with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) to form ozone and small particles which penetrate deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs, causing airway inflammation and respiratory illness

Ozone (O3)

Ground level ozone is created by chemical reactions between Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight, and comes from industrial and electrical utilities, vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapours and chemical solvents. While Ozone causes coughing, throat soreness, chest tightness and airway irritation, it also inflames and damages cells within the lungs, making them prone to infection and causes internal scarring which permanently reduces lung function