Sarita Ahlawat holds up her startup Living Sciences’ air quality monitor against a cold, grey December sky. Its PM 10 reading—particulate matter measured in micrograms—flickers before settling on 263. As we carry it out of her office, to the foyer, and then to the balcony, the reading fluctuates, before it finally settles at 313. According to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), we’re breathing in “very poor” air.
Breathe in, breathe out
Indian low-cost AQI startups AMBEE, AirVeda’s certification up in the air
Sleek, portable and personal—low-cost air quality monitors have unlocked a $5.5 billion market globally. They can map large swathes of the country left off the monitoring grid. But their authenticity is under fire from regulatory bodies
14 out of 15 of the world’s most polluted cities lie in India—bad air quality has already shaved off 1.7 years from an average Indian lifespan
India needs 4,000+ official monitors to get an accurate picture of air quality levels across the country. Its current count? 793
A potential hybrid system of official government monitors and commercial low-cost ones can fill up the data gap
Startups have turned air monitoring into a consumer business. Certification, though, is a far cry, with CPCB as the formidable gatekeeper