It is sticky, hot and well-nigh difficult to breathe: This is how one feels upon visiting the smoking pods at the COP28 Dubai.

The three pods are carefully crafted environments for visitors to safely experience air pollution levels from three cities, namely London, New Delhi and Beijing. It allows people to feel, taste and smell the environments that are the norm for most of the world’s population.

“Even for a smoking person, it gets difficult to breathe after a while. This proves that we need to change so that climate will change,” said Peter Junkin, a European citizen, after experiencing the pods.

Screens in the pods display the data about the pollution level in the three cities. When Khaleej Times visited the pods, air quality value was at 22 in London, 142 in Beijing and shockingly 407 in New Delhi. Air quality values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory, and those above 100 are believed to be unhealthy.

It is estimated that over 7 million people die prematurely every year as a result of air pollution, more than twice as many as from malaria, tuberculosis and Aids combined.

World leaders and environmentalists are meeting in Dubai to reach a deal to contain greenhouse gas emissions and keep temperatures from rising further to save the planet and humanity as climate change threatens extinction.

“It is smelly in London and very, very hot in New Delhi. It was a sigh of relief when I stepped out of the pods. I recommend people to experience so that they realise how we are polluting the planet,” Emile Beneh, a French national, said after experiencing the pods at the COP28.

Designed by UK artist Michael Pinsky, a carefully mixed recipe emulates the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur and carbon monoxide that pollute the three cities.

The Pollution Pods are supported by the Clean Air Fund and Breathe Cities.

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