What is PM 2.5 and why it matters

If you are someone who loves to breathe fresh air, (well who won’t ?)

or if you are someone who is frequently visited by lung infections

or someone who has no other option but to face dust allergies

knowing what is PM 2.5 or PM 10 would be a good place to start

making your own air fresh and free of tiny tiny particles

that are as small as 2.5 microns (micrometer)

One micrometer is 1/1000000 of 1 meter

Or 1/1000 of 1 millimeter

That is like cutting a mustard seed into 1000 parts

One should be having very sharp eyes to see a particle that is as  small as mustard seed dust that is about 1000 times smaller than its original natural size

So small that it finds it’s way into our nose,

sliding and past nasal hairs and mucous slime,

finally into the lungs where they stay for a while.

So far we have been describing about the size….

Now about their kaleodoscopic compositions

  • silica dust
  • carbon soot dust
  • metal dust
  • metal oxide dust
  • metal sulphide dust
  • polymer dust
  • pollen grain dust
  • wheat flour dust
  • husk dust
  • roadside vehicle dust
  • smoking dust

Quantitative detection would lead us to efforts for

reduction of PM 2.5

based on our common knowledge we can then proceed to quantitative measurements depending on the sources of high particulate emissions

from industrial dumping grounds to domestic wood stick stoves…

Sources of Air Pollution

(Image source: http://www.bestratedairpurifier.in/pm2-5-pm10-effects-human-health/)

How to proceed ?


0 to 50 micro grams/ cubic meter = Safe and clean

50 to 100 micrograms/cubic meter = Little above normal, identify domestic or industrial source , PM 2.5 mask or at least a handkerchief mask recommended for sensitive people

100-150 micrograms/cubic meter = Above normal, identify source and start taking remedial action like plantation of tree, proper ventilation etc, mask or nose and mouth cover suggested

150-250 micrograms/cubic meter = High, all the above plus quantitative determination needed, mask cover must, indentifying source and if possible prevention also needed, long term exposure at this level may cause life long or even life threatening diseases

Above 250 micrograms/cubic meter = ALERT! High air pollution alert! Emergency action needed!

  1. Cover nose and mouth without fail.
  2. Identify source and provide ventilation.
  3. If the source is wood buring switch to clean fuel if there is an alternative.
  4. If the source is roadside pollution, wear masks and cover home windows with plants, plant roadside trees to control the air nearby
  5. If the source is some industry, inform the municipal authority for the same for imposing norms like longer stack, implementation of electrostatic precipitator, scrubber etc. Even cold water spray can arrest lot of dust.  Raise issue to concerned public departments, NGOs and media.






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