Applying EPA’s instruction to calculate air quality index (AQI) in Tehran
Introduction: This study aimed to calculate and evaluate air quality index (AQI) in Tehran according to the EPA’s instruction, and evaluate the obtained values.
Materials and methods: The study period included three years of 2013, 2015, and 2017 within the six-year period of 2013-2017. The concentrations of six studied pollutants were acquired from Department of Environment (DE) and Air Quality Control Company of Tehran (AQCC). EPA’s method was applied to calculate AQI values during the study period, selecting the highest AQI value among all of the pollutants and monitors.
Results: The three-year average of AQI was about 147. During all the three years, the air quality had never been in a “good” condition (AQI<50). About 92%, 91%, 87% of AQIs indicated the conditions unhealthy for sensitive groups (100<AQI<150) or unhealthy for all groups (150<AQI<200). PM2.5 accounted for most of the AQI values in Tehran, followed by NO2 and O3. Evaluating the histogram of AQI values indicated a strange form of distribution, showing a decline in the 100-150 range and a sudden increase just after AQIs higher than 150.
Conclusion: This study indicated that governmental organizations should follow EPA’s instruction for AQI calculations to avoid underestimation of air pollution, and broadcast accurate and reliable AQIs to public. To determine the reason for the abnormal distribution of AQI, further studies with longer study periods are required.
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