The India Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that it will be issuing ultraviolet (UV) rays advisories at 10 locations in New Delhi which will allow the citizens in the national capital to find out the dose of UV rays that they are exposed to and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from sunburn.
Invisible UV rays are emitted by the sun and overexposure to them is said to be the major risk factor for most skin cancers.
The weather office has recently launched the UV Index service for Pune and would launch it in Delhi by October. The UV rays readings will be displayed on LED screens at 10 locations in Delhi along with the temperature and humidity.
"Any reading between 1-5 is considered safe for Indian skin while limit between 5-6 is low risk. Reading between 6-8 is medium risk, while 8 and above falls in the category of high risk," Gurfan Beig, SAFAR programme director at IITM, told IANS.
The facility is part of the SAFAR (System of Air quality Forecasting and Research) monitoring stations - India's first air quality prediction system of monitoring stations - that were put in place ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
"The instruments have been acquired from a US-based company and each costs around Rs. 15 lakh. They will measure UV rays that can cause skin cancer over prolonged exposure," Beig said.
The UV-Index for India was developed by the scientists of the ministry of earth sciences after extensive research based on an analysis of the long-term atmospheric ozone data. It also follows the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the UV rays.
"The UV-Index will be displayed along with the other parameters like temperature, humidity and pollutants on the LED screens already put at 10 places across the national capital," Beig said.
He said the UV-Index would help the people take necessary measures to prevent overexposure to UV rays and sunburn.
"UV rays are harmful and overexposure to them can cause skin cancer and other problems. By knowing the UV Index at a particular time, people can plan measures like using sunscreens or covering the face to avoid their harmful effects," Beig added.