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.