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4 ways to check air quality in your locality using your smartphone
Here are four ways you can check the air quality in your vicinity,
Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure of the quality of air in your locality, city, or country. The number that turns out on the index is a direct response of how good or how poor the air you breathe is. Several reasons have predisposed the majority of us to air pollution hazards. Those who live in cities and industrial areas are especially prone to many breathing disorders. It doesn’t come as a surprise to see people using purifiers in their homes.
While we constantly measure our fitness and health using multiple parameters, we forget to gauge something that causes numerous hazards and always surrounds us. When we step out for a walk, a run, or a commute, a quick check of the air quality will always do us good. Thankfully, we can retrieve the AQI on our phones. Here’s how –
AQI is generated by considering the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Sulphur Dioxide, and PM 2.5, PM 10 particles. The scale ranges from 0 to 300+, with numbers below 50 being the safest. Anything above 100-130 is considered unhealthy. One can get this information through the following ways.
Google Search card
Type in your query and Google's dedicated card shows the AQI of the city. For example: Air Quality . Below the card, you'll see health messages relating to the AQI. It may be pleasant or cautionary. However, if the searched city is already in the news for air quality reasons, Google won't display the AQI.
Apps and Widgets
Several apps exist on the play store which can display the AQI of your area or city. Two best ones are AirVisual and Breezometer. You can save locations and track them 24/7. Breezometer comes with several options. AirVisual offers a 7-day prediction as well. A seamless widget option is also available.
Home screen web shortcuts
Certain websites offer accurate measurements. Adding them to your home screen will allow you to monitor the AQI with a single tap. One such website is Aqicn.org. It details the concentration of each pollutant in the region and offers a cumulative real-time AQI. You can add a shortcut through any browser. Through Chrome, you have to open the website and tap the menu icon on the top right (three vertical dots). You'll find an option saying "Add to home screen." Tap on it and you're done.
Official government records
If you're an Indian, the data concerning the concentration of different pollutants in the air can be accessed. Visit the official website of Central Pollution Control Board. You'll find a map. Press Ctrl+K to zoom in to the station that's near your area. You can add a home screen shortcut for this as well.
There you have it. Use the above tips to keep a check on the air quality around you. It also helps to keep a handful of masks handy.