Updated: November 4, 2019 7:15:26 pm
Delhi and all other North Indian cities are under a toxic smog since last week and the air is filled with PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles, which are contributing to the pollution. PM 2.5 particles are the size of 2.5 microns, while the latter are 10 microns in size. The particles are so tiny, smaller than human hair, that they can easily settle in our lungs and cause long-term damage, even if one might not feel them at first. One app has found a unique way of highlighting the impact of this pollution. It will convert the air quality around where you live into the equivalent number of cigarettes smoked.
The apps ‘Sh**t ! I Smoke’ is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. On Twitter too, many users have been sharing the results of this app. The app’s attempt is to put bad air quality into a context that might be easier to understand. So while an AQI (air quality of index) of 450 might not mean much to some people, when it is converted into a number of cigarettes consumed daily, this can be eye-opening. After all, the ill-effects of smoking are medically known.
Sh**t ! I Smoke is already showing as number eight in the under the ‘Health and Fitness’ category on the App Store. It has over 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. So how does this app work?
You simply enter a location or you give the app your location, and it will show how many cigarettes that is equivalent to on a daily basis. The number can be seen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For instance, for a resident of Green Park Delhi, it showed the daily cigarette count as 10.1, for someone living in New Delhi it shows as 8.7 cigarettes. Of course, this number is based on the daily AQI and if you had looked earlier, the number was as high as 33 daily for those living in Delhi.
The app is relying on findings by Berkeley’s Earth. It simply converts the AQI recorded from the nearest recording location into an equivalent number of cigarettes. One cigarette is around PM 2.5 level of 22 μg/m3, according to the app’s detailed information.
PM 2.5 is known to cause lung diseases, heart diseases and have other impact on the human body. The app does warn that the AQI is also dependent on other factors like temperature, wind, air pressure, humidity, which can impact the results. Also the weekly and monthly calculation is in beta mode for now. Still, Delhi had close to 999 PM 2.5 on Sunday, and that’s certainly a lot of cigarettes, which is not good for anyone. As the app shows, air pollution impacts us all, even the non-smokers.
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