The air quality in the Delhi-NCR region remained hazardous with the AQI (air quality index) touching 500 on Monday. Rains over the weekend didn't seem to help as it only appeared to worsen the thick smog that had engulfed the national capital. The haze over the city, along with the plummeting AQI, has completely disrupted normal life with schools choosing to remain shut and low visibility causing delayed and diverted flights.With the city literally struggling to breathe, several suggested that moving out of the city seems like a wise solution. Burning and itchy eyes, dry throat and breathing troubles seemed to be popular subjects of conversation across the city. "How to stay safe" as Delhi chokes appeared to be top searches on Google over the past few days. For non-smokers, it almost feels like being exposed to toxic cigarette smoke twenty-four hours a day! Yes, it's that bad.
Have you ever wondered how many cigarettes a day you've been passively smoking as you walk through the pollution and smog infused streets in the national capital? Turns out, there's an app for that.
The app, named "Shit, I Smoke" was developed by Marcelo Coelho and Amaury Martiny last year. Basically, the app, which is available on iOS and Android, monitors data from air quality stations strewn across various locations in order to analyse the quality of air in a particular place. It then deduces how many cigarettes you've been smoking, just by breathing toxic, polluted urban air.
The makers of the app-based it on a study by professors at California University who used a mathematical model in order to calculate how many cigarettes one is smoking simply by inhaling particulate matter present in polluted air. Given that Delhi is, without a doubt, the most polluted city in the world right now, we decided to give the app a try.
According to the app, as of 8:51 AM on Monday, anyone who spent a few minutes outdoors in Noida will have smoked 25.6 cigarettes daily.
For those living in Delhi, merely walking to the grocery store down the road means smoking 148.5 cigarettes.
Let's compare that to other cities, shall we? In Bengaluru, the pollution is tolerable since the amount of particulate matter in the air is equivalent to smoking 3.2 cigarettes per day. Mumbai, on the other hand, takes the cake. This is what the data says:
Several people even tweeted screenshots of the app, sharing data from their locations. Take a look:
I use an app that converts the air quality to an equivalent number of cigarettes. Anyone in Delhi now might as well be smoking 33 cigarettes a day. Imagine knowing your children are smoking more than a pack a day. Cos here, they are. #DelhiAirEmergency pic.twitter.com/9aumGokBo0 — Siobhan Heanue (@siobhanheanue) November 3, 2019
Gandhinagar, Gujarat...green city with more than 1 tree per head. Difference is there to see... pic.twitter.com/rF23axT9me — Rajat Patel (@TechnoTravel_in) November 3, 2019
London charges diesel surcharge because apparently air quality has deteriorated. Meanwhile Delhi is busy in politics over a relatively simpler seasonal issue (cost of disposing stubble!) How do actual numbers between two cities compare? 🙄#DelhiSmog pic.twitter.com/0WIaiYYrXP — Nilesh Dias (@nileshdias) November 3, 2019
As one person wrote on Twitter, this is alarming especially for people who don't smoke or quit smoking since they're heading down the same road of lung diseases and respiratory problems as those who smoke. It looks like we're all chain smokers now.