Kyrgyzstan: US Embassy publishes Bishkek air quality data

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BISHKEK (TCA) — In observation of the United States’ Air Quality Awareness Week and in cooperation with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Embassy of the United States in Bishkek installed a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved air quality monitor at the Embassy complex, the Embassy said on May 3.

The EPA currently posts real-time data from the monitor on its AirNow website.

“This air monitor is part of a larger effort by the United States to support efforts to improve air quality and the environment. We look forward to further cooperation with the people of Kyrgyzstan to protect this country’s incredible natural beauty,” explained Ambassador Donald Lu. The initiative is part of an effort to replicate the U.S. approach to air quality monitoring at over 30 diplomatic missions overseas — including all of Central Asia and South Asia.

Representatives from Kyrgyz Hydromet and the State Center for Regulation of Environmental Protection and Ecological Safety examined the Embassy’s air quality monitor and met with U.S. experts about the equipment’s capabilities during the installation and testing phase of the equipment. Together with the Kyrgyz government, the U.S. Embassy will continue to explore opportunities for technical exchanges on a range of air quality issues to tackle what is truly a global issue.

The calibrated, highly accurate monitor measures fine particulate matter in the air measuring less than 2.5 micrometers (known as PM2.5), and is a valuable addition to air quality monitoring efforts in Bishkek. Data from the Embassy’s air quality monitor in Bishkek appears on the AirNow website as a value on the U.S. Air Quality Index, or AQI. Raw PM2.5 concentration data is also available on the AirNow website.

The attached chart displays AQI values in color-coded categories of increasing levels of health concern, and a corresponding color-coded chart recommends actions at each level to limit exposure to pollutants. This air quality information allows the public to make decisions to protect their health. PM2.5, one of the most widely utilized measurement benchmarks around the world, is linked to an array of adverse health effects globally.

Air pollution has been a widely discussed public issue in the Kyrgyz capital city in recent months.

Sergey Kwan

TCA