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India, home to some the world's most polluted cities, launches index to measure air quality

  • FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, traffic moves at dusk in New Delhi, India. India launched the Air Quality Index Friday, Oct. 17, to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. It will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding 1 million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash told reporters. The World Health Organization said earlier this year that the Indian capital had the worst air quality in the world, surpassing Beijing, a statement that New Delhi has vehemently disputed. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

    FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, traffic moves at dusk in New Delhi, India. India launched the Air Quality Index Friday, Oct. 17, to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. It will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding 1 million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash told reporters. The World Health Organization said earlier this year that the Indian capital had the worst air quality in the world, surpassing Beijing, a statement that New Delhi has vehemently disputed. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, smoke rises from chimneys of brick kilns on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. India launched the Air Quality Index Friday, Oct. 17, to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. It will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding 1 million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash told reporters. The World Health Organization said earlier this year that the Indian capital had the worst air quality in the world, surpassing Beijing, a statement that New Delhi has vehemently disputed. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

    FILE- In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, smoke rises from chimneys of brick kilns on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. India launched the Air Quality Index Friday, Oct. 17, to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. It will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding 1 million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash told reporters. The World Health Organization said earlier this year that the Indian capital had the worst air quality in the world, surpassing Beijing, a statement that New Delhi has vehemently disputed. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)  (The Associated Press)

India has launched an index to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Friday that the Air Quality Index will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding 1 million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country.

The index will warn residents when pollution levels shoot past dangerous levels.

Javadekar said it wouldn't be "business as usual anymore" and the government was committed to improving air quality as part of a cleanliness drive Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched earlier this month.