Now, a Twitter app to measure Delhi's air quality in real time

New Delhi, Apr.14 (ANI): As the Odd-Even initiative returns to Delhi's roads on April 15th, a Twitter app will provide a real-time eye-opening glimpse into New Delhi's air quality.

Delhi-based social entrepreneur Amrit Sharma's automated Twitter account, @DelhivsBeijing, urges New Delhi's citizens to wake up to the hazards of air pollution. But there's a twist to the campaign - it compares Delhi's pollution levels to Beijing's.

"My goal is to make air pollution metrics easy to understand, and help people realize that they need to pay attention and take action," said Sharma.

The Chinese capital's hazy skylines and deteriorating air pollution levels constantly make headlines, but Delhi residents often breathe in much more toxic air.

Every hour, the @DelhivsBeijing app tweets real-time air quality data from New Delhi and Beijing. Each tweet also includes a custom-designed image that juxtaposes Delhi's famous ?Humayun's Tomb with Beijing's Tiananmen Square to visually emphasize the current levels of air pollution.

According to the WHO, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. 5.5 million people die prematurely every year around the world because of air pollution, and roughly 1.3 million of those deaths occur in India.

Sharma applauds the Delhi government's Odd-Even experiment, which debuted in January this year, but adds that extreme air pollution in Delhi won't subside significantly unless both the government and civilians truly understand the implications of air pollution on health and quality of life. "Air pollution kills," Sharma says. "New Delhi needs a concerted year-round effort to systematically keep air pollution within healthy or moderately healthy levels, or we should expect a continuous rise in respiratory illnesses, skin diseases and other aggravated health issues to plague us all."

He adds, "I really hope that @DelhivsBeijing and other awareness initiatives can drive home the point that we are breathing dangerously toxic air and must address this to improve everyone's quality of life."

Meanwhile, will the Odd-Even initiative live up to the expectations? "I'm cautiously optimistic," says Sharma. "Until then, Delhi residents should be proactive and wear a face mask while outdoors, use an air filter in their homes and follow @DelhivsBeijing on twitter." (ANI)