Before you breathe, use these apps to check if the air is clean enough

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Before you breathe, use these apps to check if the air is clean enough
A blanket of smog envelops New Delhi, measuring as severe on Monday for the first time this season after Diwali celebrationsIANS
  • With winter coming, the air quality in major Indian cities like Delhi, Chennai, Bombay and Bangalore is only set to get worse.
  • Mobile apps can't clean up the air but can help your better prepare for the deteriorating air quality.
  • One size does not fit all, so each app has a unique characteristic that could make it perfect for your requirement.

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Air pollution isn’t just something that we read about in school and can ignore as we go about our lives. Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai measure ‘severe’ on the Air Quality Index (AQI) as winter starts to kick in.

However, a number of mobile applications allow users to monitor the level of air pollution in their immediate area. It doesn’t make the air cleaner but it can help prepare for what’s in store — like when you wear a mask out of the house, guilt trip you into using public transport instead of the car, or maybe invest in air purifier so that it’s at least to safe breather inside the house.

These apps don’t actually measure the air quality that’s immediately around you but uses data feeds from monitoring stations to tell you what the air is like in your area.

Here are some fun apps you can download on your phone to track air quality in your area on a daily basis:
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​Sh**t! I Smoke

​Sh**t! I Smoke

This is one of the more fun apps out there that doesn’t just display the level of air quality, but puts it terms comparative terms that make it easier to understand.

It takes the AQI rating and tells you how many cigarettes it means you’ve smoked in day — or even a week or a month — just because the air is polluted.

​Plume Air Report

​Plume Air Report

A big name in the air quality game is Plume. It has a lot of features that go hand-in-hand with AirVisual but one key difference — that the app claims to be your ‘device companion’.

So depending on the air quality level, it can recommend what kind of activity makes the most sense from cycling to taking a stroll to the nearest restaurant.

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​AirVisual

​AirVisual

AirVisual is one of the most popular apps to track air quality. It has data on over 10,000 cities and is packed with features to view air quality in a different way.

For instance, you can get a 7-day air pollution forecast on the app or you can pull an interactive 3D map.

Aside from just displaying the air quality, it also gives out information on how you can reduce your risk to pollution related diseases. And — in case you already have lung problems — how to cope in an environment where air quality is getting lower by the day.

The best part is that even if English isn’t your first language, the app can give you all this information in 9 other languages.

​​Air Cognizer

​​Air Cognizer

This air quality monitoring app was developed in India, keeping Indian cities in mind. Three students from Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Engineering launched the mobile last year and it has a unique approach to calculating air quality.

Most apps use your phone’s location data to figure out where the closest air monitoring tower is and relay data from there. Air Cognizer, on the other hand, wants users to take a picture of the sky.

The app’s machine learning (ML) software then estimates the AQI in the area using supporting data.

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AQI India

AQI India

The new kid on the block, AQI India’s mobile app was only launched in January earlier this year. It lays out India’s map with all the major cities highlighted and their respective pollution levels.

AQI India claims that all the readings are real-time.

Other than that, it functions like most other air quality monitoring apps where you can see the data over 24-hours or 7-days. It also issues advice on which activities will be most suitable to minimise exposure to pollution.

But be warned, the nascent app can sometimes act little glitchy.