A new air-quality measure providing hourly updates will be available as of today at the Environmental Monitoring Center’s website, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau announced.
The index will now show updates for all major pollutants, PM2.5 and PM10 included, although the original AQI will still be used as the measuring tool for the activation of pollution alarms.
“The current AQI provides a useful guide to air quality and is in line with the national standard,” Fu Qingyan, chief engineer at the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, told Shanghai Daily.
“But when conditions change it can become quickly outdated, which is where the new index is better.”
The current AQI is based on the levels of six pollutants: PM2.5, PM10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. While it is reported hourly, only four of the measures are actually updated hourly. The measures for PM2.5 and PM10 are given as an average over the previous 24 hours.
Under the new system, the lowest blue alarm will be issued when the AQI is forecast to be between 201 and 300 for the coming 24 hours. If the reading is expected to last for 48 hours, the alarm will be raised to yellow.
An orange alarm will be issued when the AQI is predicted to be between 301 and 450 over the next 24 hours, and the top-tier red alarm is triggered when the index is forecast to surpass 450.
The readings will also be included in TV broadcasts, social media and on the center’s smartphone app.
On the aforementioned days, we’ll be sitting on our couches using this app.