Air quality unhealthy in Colombo: US Embassy

The US Embassy's Air Quality Monitor in Colombo indicated unhealthy values of air quality with 167 Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded by 10 p.m. on Tuesday. 

By Wednesday morning the AQI readings continued to rise to 173 by 8.30 a.m, before declining to a 165 by 10 a.m. Despite the fluctuations, readings continue to indicate an unhealthy level of air quality.

H.D.S Premasiri of the National Building Research Organisation speaking to Daily Mirror said that a significant change in the air quality has been observed in Colombo.

"The air quality records of both the NBRO and the US embassy have run parallel and have indicated a significant change since yesterday (Tuesday) night," he said. 

"Even though the situation seems to improve, our modelling has indicated that the air quality levels have worsened in Colombo, several areas in the north of Sri Lanka including Jaffna and Vavuniya and also in Puttalam," Premasiri noted. 

According to the NBRO official, the standard level of air quality is measured at around 50 whereas yesterday's readings almost doubled the normal figure, reaching 115 in the AQI. 

The AQI is a system for recording pollutant concentration measurements, into a scale to represent the health risk posed by ambient air pollution. The index formula usually considers up to 6 main pollutants and calculates the respective health risk (or AQI number) for each one at any given time. 

Meanwhile, Pradeep Kodippili of the Disaster Management Centre speaking to Daily Mirror said that the matter has been brought to the attention of relevant authorities including the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment as well as NBRO. 

"All the relevant authorities are currently observing the situation," he said. (Kalani Kumarasinghe)



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