India is now gearing up to monitor PM1 (particulate matter 1), which is the least visible pollutant particle in air, across major Indian cities.

About Particulate Matter (PM):

1.    Particulate matter also known as particle pollution or PM. 

2.    It is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. 

3.    Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.

Health issues related to PM:

1.    The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. 

2.    The particles of size 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller, generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. 

3.    The old age and children population are at most risk.

Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in ambient air comprises of:

1.    PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 micron), 

2.    PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micron) and 

3.    PM1. 

Presently, CPCB, which is India’s apex pollution monitoring body, in association with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) is monitoring ambient air quality at 612 monitoring stations located in 254 cities/towns in 29 states and 5 union territories across the country under National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). 

CPCB presebtly does not monitor PM1. Even the Environment Protection Agency of the United States does not monitor PM1 on a regular basis.

India in 2015 launched real time 24×7 air quality monitoring across major Indian cities called the National Air Quality Index (NAQI).

National Air Quality Index (NAQI):

NAQI is centred around five chief pollutants,  Particulate Matter with a diameter less than 10 micrometres (PM10), Particulate Matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Carbon Monoxide (CO). 

The unit of measurement is microgram (or milligram in the case of CO) per cubic meter.