91% of the world’s current population lives in places where air pollution exceeds guideline limits and the World Health Organization defines poor air quality as the single biggest environmental health crisis we face today.
A) Why We Created the BreezoMeter Global Air Quality Index (BAQI)
Our team of expert scientists and data specialists pioneered the first truly global air quality index.
The question is how, and why did we need to come up with this global and unified approach to reporting on air quality?
Almost every country in the world calculates its Air Quality Index (AQI) differently. National AQIs are based on local air quality standards and pollutant concentrations that are completely country-specific. All this variation means it's impossible to compare like for like between countries.
Further, for global businesses looking to make use of accurate air quality data, it is very difficult to combine all the different indexes in an understandable way.
B) National AQIs Speak Different Languages
The air quality indexes used by different countries use completely different scales. Numbers alone mean nothing when you can’t easily understand or compare the ranges or scales that are behind the numbers you’re looking at.
This point is easier to understand if you compare air quality to the weather - when looking at temperatures across the world, we have commonly used international standards to interpret the information we’re looking at, Fahrenheit and Celcius. With air quality, no global standard like this existed until we created the BAQI.
Table Comparing 3 Different AQIs
When looking at these different values, it would be difficult to understand that ‘11’ in the Hong Kong Index and ‘450’ in the US index both referred to hazardous levels of air quality without additional context.
C) How Else Do National Air Quality Indexes Differ?
The Use of Categorization: ‘Unhealthy’ vs. ‘High’
Some AQIs are based on the level of potential health impact on our health (unhealthy - healthy), whereas others are based on air pollution levels (low - high).
The Number of Pollutants Reported
Different AQIs may not report on the same pollutants. For example, Sao Paulo in Brazil reports on 6 separate pollutants (co, no2, o3, so2, pm10, pm25) whereas Denmark only reports on 3 (no2, co, o3). In addition, where national Air Quality Indexes do report on the same pollutants, the levels of concentration might differ.
Different Interpretations of Danger
Different countries define the danger presented by different levels of pollutant concentration in different ways. In the US, standards 54 parts per billion of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) gas defines moderate air quality (1-hour average) whereas in Israel, 250 parts per billion of NO2 defines the same category level (30 min average).
D) How BreezoMeter’s Global AQI Works
Our Breezometer Air Quality Index, 'BAQI', was developed based on academic research, National AQIs and more. The BAQI scale ranges from 0 = "poor" to 100 = "excellent" with 5 color-coded categories of equal lengths:
Our BAQI also takes into account all six of the major pollutants across the world, which includes Ozone, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Fine Particulate Matter and Inhalable Particulate Matter. On the surface, the BAQI is incredibly simple: it’s a single number that will tell you the quality of air on your street, in real-time.
However, the bigger story is how we got here. BreezoMeter collects so much real-time data from thousands of sources around the world, that the challenge was to translate this information into accurate, simple and actionable insights that anyone can understand.
For those interested in moving past the basics, we explain our journey, methodology, and the numbers behind the BreezoMeter Air Quality Index in more detail in the below guide:
E) How BreezoMeter’s AQI Helps Individuals Reduce Pollution Exposure
Air quality is extremely dynamic and fast-changing, it fluctuates on an hourly basis and can show differently at any given time from street to street. This means if pollution levels are low in the morning, things might dramatically change in just a couple of hours.
Many of the world’s existing AQIs have been built based on concentration averages over time because previous research concentrated primarily on prolonged pollution exposure.
However, air quality information that is reported with a significant delay is not actionable or helpful for people that want to make decisions right now.
BreezoMeter’s real-time AQI enables people to see if there’s a high pollution level where they are right now, then make decisions accordingly, such as delaying a run outside or taking children to play outside at a different park where the air quality is better.
F) BreezoMeter’s Data in Action
The opportunities available now we have a real-time, accurate and hyper-local Air Quality Index that is available worldwide, are significant:
Anyone can check the current and live air quality information where ever they are, plan ahead with forecast information, or track their personal exposure over time using BreezoMeter’s mobile app and website.
Individuals can make smarter home-buying decisions by checking a year’s worth of pollution levels at a specific address through our Real Estate Report.
Businesses can personalize the experiences they provide, increase value, and better engage their users with our specially designed business API solutions which includes real-time Fire Alerts, Pollen and Air Quality information.
G) BreezoMeter's Continuous Accuracy Testing
BreezoMeter pulls data from thousands of different sources and considers how factors such as pollen, fires, weather and traffic impact air quality. On top of this, we perform a process of continuous accuracy testing to ensure the information we provide is reliable.