Analysis of Air Pollution Data in India between 2015 and 2019

Disha Sharma, Denise Mauzerall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


India suffers from among the worst air pollution in the world. In response, a large government effort to increase air quality monitoring is underway. We present the first comprehensive analysis of government air quality observations from 2015–2019 for PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NO2 and O3 from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (CAAQM) network and the manual National Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP), as well as PM2.5 from the US Air-Now network. We address inconsistencies and data gaps in datasets using a rigorous procedure to ensure data representativeness. We find particulate pollution dominates the pollution mix across India with virtually all sites in northern India (divided at 23.5°N) exceeding the annual average PM10 and PM2.5 residential national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) by 150% and 100% respectively, and in southern India exceeding the PM10 standard by 50% and the PM2.5 standard by 40%. Annual average SO2, NO2 and MDA8 O3 generally meet the residential NAAQS across India. Northern India has (~10%–130%) higher concentrations of all pollutants than southern India, with only SO2 having similar concentrations. Although inter-annual variability exists, we found no significant trend of these pollutants over the five-year period. In the five cities with Air-Now PM2.5 measurements-Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai, there is reasonable agreement with CPCB data. The PM2.5 CPCB CAAQM data compares well with satellite derived annual surface PM2.5 concentrations (Hammer et al., 2020), with the exception of the western desert region prior to 2018 when surface measurements exceeded satellite retrievals. Our reanalyzed dataset is useful for evaluation of Indian air quality from satellite data, atmospheric models, and low-cost sensors. Our dataset also provides a baseline to evaluate the future success of National Clean Air Programme as well as aids in assessment of existing and future air pollution mitigation policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number210204
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


  • Air pollution
  • CPCB
  • Continuous and manual data
  • India
  • Surface observations
  • US AirNow


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