Air pollution is one of the longstanding environmental issues that is important at global, regional and local level. It is equally something that concerns ordinary people, especially when they live in an area they consider to be polluted.
Improvements to the UK’s air quality has been identified as a priority by the Coalition government, perceivably influenced by the EU air quality directives and the threat of potential fines that will be imposed for any lack of compliance.
Monitoring air quality at the micro-scale of streets and neighbourhoods is something most local authorities lack resources to implement comprehensively. But with increasing concerns over the health implications of poor air quality, potential impacts on the natural environment, and costs associated with breaches to the EU guidelines, it’s an issue that cannot be ignored.
Mapping for Change is keen to support communities interested in monitoring and mapping local air quality in their area (click for more info). We have compiled a range of simple methods that can help local groups to assess levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particles. Monitoring can be carried out for anything from one week to four weeks, depending on which pollutants are being monitored. We can provide the resources and the guidance needed. We will undertake the analyses, map the results and send these back to each respective community involved. Similar monitoring has already been undertaken in the Pepys Estate, Deptford. This has since led to two new monitoring sites being installed by the local council in a bid to obtain a clearer picture of localised air quality. Air quality data specific to a community can be used in a variety of ways, from supported requests for improvement to public transport to informing planning application concerns.
Our work in this field will be further developed in the coming months through the EveryAware project, a new EU funded activity intending to integrate environmental monitoring, awareness enhancement and behaviour change by creating a new technological platform combining sensing technologies, networking applications and data-processing tools.
For now, we are starting with basic technology!
If you would like to learn more or are keen to start a monitoring project in your community then email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.