Climate and Health: Monitoring Air in Chandigarh

Delhi, Nov 2019 air quality readings

Air pollution affects the health of millions across the world and in several Indian cities, air quality levels have worsened to “off the chart” levels.  While an air quality index (AQI) of up to 50 is good,  over 150 is unhealthy and over 300 is hazardous, Delhi sometimes sees AQI levels above 500 and recently “999” the highest number the sensors can report.

A team of medical personnel in Chandigarh, working in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) aims to strengthen people’s capacity to improve air quality through research, public communication and advocacy for clean energy.  In collaboration with AID and Health Care without Harm, they are carrying out a project called the Climate and Health Air Monitoring Project (CHAMP). 

The Climate and Health Air Monitoring Project aims to understand air pollution, sources of air pollution, and its impact on public health, besides equipping health professionals, citizens and policy makers to take remedial and mitigative action against air pollution and climate change in Chandigarh. 

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Project Rationale: 

Health professionals and the general public need to be aware of the health impacts of air pollution and climate change.  The CHAMP team seeks to collect air pollution data and mobilize health professionals to communicate about the health implications by issuing health advisories connected to outdoor air pollution levels, educating  patients, engaging with their communities and advocating for a transition to clean, renewable energy. 

Project Objectives

  1.         Generate air pollution data by installing real time air quality monitors and using data already being generated through existing air monitoring samplers
  2.         Develop and test a set of materials and strategies to educate health care workers, patients and the general public on the adverse health impacts of air pollution, its connection to climate change and solutions that will help to protect public health


Project Team

The project team comprises the principal investigator, three co-principal investigators,  project scientist, research assistant and multi-tasking staff.  They are academics and researchers from Panjab University, PGIMER and University of Delhi. 


Expected Outcomes

Air pollution and Climate Change Manual for Chandigarh

As the incidences of air pollution and climate change induced health impacts are increasing at an unprecedented rate, the CHAMP team,  in consultation with PGIMER professors, aims to produce a manual for health care professionals, nurses, schools, journalists and the general public.   

 Community Self assessment tool for Air Pollution and Climate Change Monitoring, Chandigarh

The initiative will support pollution impacted communities in Chandigarh, India with an aim to demystify science and deploy awareness to systematically understand, document, report, and self-assess air pollution and climate change. The developed interventions will be designed to help impacted communities to express their environmental and health experiences about air pollution and climate change in a language that could not be refuted by the authorities without basis. The larger goal of self-assessment tool is to help expand the democratic spaces of communities facing health issues from air pollution and climate change. References for the self-assessment tool kit include:

  • Community Environmental Monitoring, Chennai (2019). Tools For Community Environmental Monitoring, A Manual For Pollution Impacted Communities.
  • A Self‐Assessment to address climate change readiness in your community, Midwest East (2013). Climate Adaptation Guidebook for Municipalities in the Chicago Region.

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Air pollution and Climate Change Survey Questionnaire

People’s perception and understanding of air pollution and climate change forms a critical component before creating awareness. Therefore face – to –face survey questionnaires will be prepared and administered to different stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, patients, educational institutions, media and households. 


Further, general public gets exposed to air pollution either through household or ambient air pollution through various exposure time and exposure contacts, depending on the type of profession:

Profession Exposure time
Household  Ambient air
Road side vendors    
Security Guards / watchman    
Traffic Police    
Construction workers (infrastructure and development)    
Tile / Marble cutters    
Rag pickers    


Minimum                                                                                                                       Maximum

The following references will be used to develop the survey questionnaires:


  • Pilot tested, “Interview schedule questionnaire for assessment of community perceptions of air pollution and related health effects”.
  • Clean Air Asia. (2017). “How Bad is Delhi’s Air? Results from a Clean Air Asia Public Perception Survey on Air Pollution in Delhi”.



Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station Installed at Panjab University by Chandigarh Pollution Control Board


The Panjab University Chandigarh on July 17, 2019 got the city’s first regulatory grade Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAAQMS) installed at the Panjab University campus with the support of Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee. The Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh Mr. V.P. Singh Badnore inaugurated the station and dedicated it to the people of the region. Dr. Suman Mor, has been appointed as Nodal Faculty for CAAQMS by CPCC. The station will monitor ambient air quality and relay air quality information at various kiosks in the city.


Dr Suman along with Dr Khaiwal and team from PGIMER Chandigarh has taken this first step while executing Health Care Without Harm’s Climate and Health Air Pollution Monitoring (CHAMP) program and intends to use Air Quality (AQ) data from this real time monitors and low cost sensors to spread awareness on air quality and health in the city. The aim of the program is to understand the issue around air pollution, its impact on health and the sources to be able to equip health professionals, citizens and policy makers to take remedial and mitigative action. 


Photograph: Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System field station and display screen installed at Sector 25 Panjab University

AID is supporting the Climate and Health Air Monitoring Project implemented by Health Care without Harm.  

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