How is the AQHI important? How can people use the scale to co-ordinate their outdoor physical activity?
Air quality health index or AQHI is an initiative by the government of Canada and a few regions within Canada. It is calculated using the amount of harmful chemicals like ozone, fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide present in air. People can use the value of AQHI to plan their outdoor activities and ensure that they are least affected by air pollution.
AQHI values of 1 to 3 present a very low health risk and are ideal for outdoor activities by people. Levels of 4 to 6 present a moderate health risk and people who have health problems should consider avoiding outdoor physical activity. Levels of 7 to 10 present a high health risk and everyone is generally told to avoid physical activity outdoors. Levels above 10 present a serious health risk and all ways to avoid physical activity outdoors should be used.
As physical activity is associated with higher rates of breathing, the AQHI is an important tool that can be used by people to ensure that they breathe in the minimum possible amount of air pollutants.