How North India's pollution levels sound through musical notes

How North India's pollution levels sound through musical notes

Organisation: India Today (India)

Publication Date: 11/29/2016



Delhi is the most toxic city in the world and on November 5th, 2016 (post the week of Diwali, the festival of lights), the PM 2.5 level in Delhi's air climbed up to 999. Let me remind you, 65 is the normal breathing unit and at 165, China declares a nation-wide emergency. Of course, there were plenty of reports circulating on newspapers, TV and digital platforms about Delhi's choking air but the statistics became too adaptive to the readers and they accepted the air as normal. It wasn't normal. It still isn't. I worked on a different method of describing Delhi's deadly air, for that, I used the sound as storytelling method. In this experiment, I took the last ten days' data from three northern cities of India - Delhi, Varanasi and Patna's Air Quality Index (AQI). For example, on October 23, 2016 – one week before Diwali – Varanasi recorded a 24-hour average pm 2.5 level of 96 µg/m³, nearly half the level recorded last year. Similarly, average pollution levels in Agra and Delhi were 38 per cent and 30 per cent lower respectively, than those recorded on the corresponding day in 2015 (November 4, 2015). Lucknow was 11 per cent less polluted this year, while only Patna recorded 38 per cent higher levels, compared to 2015. Later, we tried representing air pollution data of three cities - Delhi, Varanasi and Patna - in sound through data sonification process.
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