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Pollution Pods at COP28 Dubai: A Wake-up Call to Climate Action

When one enters the smoking pods at COP28 Dubai, an overwhelming sense of stickiness, heat, and difficulty breathing takes over.

The moment one steps into the smoking pods at COP28 Dubai, an overwhelming sense of stickiness, heat, and difficulty breathing sets in. 

These carefully crafted environments serve as a unique and impactful initiative, allowing visitors to safely experience the air pollution levels of three major cities: London, New Delhi, and Beijing.

Experiencing the Norm: A Call for Climate Change:

European citizen Peter Junkin, even as a smoking person, expressed, “Even for a smoking person, it gets difficult to breathe after a while. 

This proves that we need to change so the climate will change.” The pods aim to evoke a tangible understanding of the daily environments faced by most of the world’s population.

Data Display: Unveiling the Severity of Air Pollution:

Within the pods, screens display real-time data on pollution levels in the three cities. During our visit, air quality values were 22 in London, 142 in Beijing, and 407 in New Delhi. 

Generally, air quality values at or below 100 are deemed satisfactory, while those exceeding 100 are considered unhealthy.

A Global Crisis: The Toll of Air Pollution on Human Lives:

Highlighting the global impact, it’s estimated that over 7 million people die prematurely every year due to air pollution, surpassing the combined toll of malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. 

World leaders and environmentalists convene in Dubai at COP28 to strategize and make agreements to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combat the imminent threats of climate change.

Sensory Realities: A Personal Account of Pollution Pods:

French national Emile Beneh shared, “It is smelly in London and very hot in New Delhi. It was a sigh of relief when I stepped out of the pods. 

I recommend people to experience it so that they realize how we are polluting the planet.” The first-hand encounters in the Pollution Pods serve as a call to action for individuals to comprehend the environmental impact of their choices.

Behind the Scenes: Crafting Realistic Environments:

Designed by UK artist Michael Pinsky, the Pollution Pods employ a carefully mixed recipe to emulate the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur, and carbon monoxide that pollute the three cities. 

Supported by the Clean Air Fund and Breathe Cities, these pods stand as a testament to the global collaborative efforts in addressing air quality challenges.

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