India – Ambient Air Monitoring Data

Click on the cities for the current ambient air quality data, presented as box plots (looking at the variation in concentrations within a day) and as time series (looking at the variation in concentrations by hour). These plots are updated every 30 minutes; for 6 criteria pollutants – Particulate Matter (2.5 and 10), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Ozone (O3).

Ambient monitoring data is pooled from multiple sources (only the sources with data feeds in the public domain). The continuous monitoring stations accessed for this exercise are operated and maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards. All the data from these stations is available from CPCB website. A secondary source to download archived data is @ (this is a portal with open access to monitoring data from stations across the globe; and also allows you to download data for select station or city or time period; compare data between stations, between cities, visualize the trends spatially and temporally, and much more). Other networks are the following

  • SAFAR program, maintained by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorological (IITM) and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)
  • The United States Embassy, records and reports PM2.5 concentrations and AQI on an hourly basis, using MetOne BAM, in multiple cities

How continuous ambient air quality monitoring system worksAir Monitoring 101How manual ambient air quality monitoring system worksAir Monitoring 101

As of September, 2017, under the guidance of CPCB, there are 74 continuous air monitoring stations operating in 16 states and 43 cities – with 19 of these operating in and around the Greater Delhi region (Delhi = 14, and one each in Noida, Ghaziabad, Rohtak, Gurgaon, and Faridabad). Most of the cities have one station to represent the full array of criteria pollutants. This is inadequate as it generates a statistically insignificant sample to represent the city or the range of sources contributing to the air pollution problem in the city.

 State# of StationsDistrict with at least one continuous monitor
1Andhra Pradesh5Chitoor (1), Vijayawada (1), East Godavari (1), Vishakapatnam (2)
2Bihar3Muzafarpur (1), Patna (1), Gaya (1)
3Delhi14Delhi (14)
4Gujarat1Ahmedabad (1)
5Haryana4Panchkula (1), Faridabad (1), Gurgaon (1), Rohtak (1)
6Jharkhand1Jorapokhar (1)
7Karnataka5Bengaluru (5)
8Kerala1Trivandrum (1)
9Maharashtra9Mumbai (2), Thane (1), Solapur (1), Pune (1), Nashik (1), Aurangabad (1), Nagpur (1), Chandrapur (1)
10Odisha2Anugul (1), Jarsguda (1)
11Punjab3Amritsar (1), Ludhiana (1), Fatehgrah (1)
12Rajasthan3Jaipur (2), Jodhpur (1)
13Tamil Nadu3Chennai (3)
14Telangana6Hyderabad (6)
15Uttar Pradesh9Ghaziabad (1), Moradabad (1), Noida (1), Agra (1), Kanpur (1), Lucknow (3), Varanasi (1)
16West Bengal5Kolkata (2), Howrah (1), Haldia (1), Durgapur (1)

Infograph @

How many continuous monitors are recommended by district and by state?

Based on thumb rule proposed by CPCB and the district level urban and rural population (as per 2011 census), we estimate the need for 4,000 continuous monitoring stations (2,800 in the urban areas and 1,200 in the rural areas of the districts, as per 2011 census) to spatially, temporally, and statistically represent the PM2.5 pollution in the urban and the rural areas of India.

 StateOperational as of Sept 2017Recommended # of Monitors# urban-monitors# rural-monitors%urban-monitors
1Jammu & Kashmir091345737%
2Himachal Pradesh04383519%
7NCT of Delhi1477770100%
9Uttar Pradesh955838217668%
12Arunachal Pradesh0440100%
19West Bengal51971425572%
23Madhya Pradesh03032307376%
25Daman & Diu0440100%
26Dadra & Nagar Haveli0440100%
28Andhra Pradesh5126943275%
35Andaman & Nicobar Island0440100%

Air Quality Index (AQI)

AQI color code in the box plots is based on national methodology as proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (New Delhi, India). It is very important to note that these index methodologies vary significantly between countries and it is not advised to compare AQI values between countries or cities; which can result in misleading understanding and/or measures. Here is an infograph showing a comparison of the break points practiced in India, China, and 4 other countries.

AQI for Indian cities is also reported by AQICN (a Chinese AQI portal) using their methodology for all the global cities. A different AQI is reported by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) based on their methodology developed under the national SAFAR program (click here for a how to use the SAFAR-Air app on phones)


March, 2016 – A call for open air pollution information

How do we improve Delhi’s graded responsibility action plan for better air quality
Op-Ed in the WIRE (2017) Download

It’s about time we got smarter about monitoring our air pollution?
Op-Ed in the WIRE (2017) Download

The polluted air we breathe
Op-Ed in the Hindu (2015) Download