Air pollution is the single largest public environmental health risk linked to 6.5 million premature death each year. It is estimated that Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 emissions from traffic in London alone is causing more than 9,000 death a year, with UK second only to Italy for having the highest number of death from NO2. Not to mention, that for everyone who dies early, there are even greater number more who will suffer from serious illness. More people die of air pollution than road traffic accidents.
The are many sources of pollutants that cause air pollution. There are many apps and an emerging market of personal monitoring devices tailored for different purposes. Each with varying degree of effectiveness in building understanding and suggesting recommendations and solutions. Awareness of the issue is the first step to taking action. To help you learn more about air pollution and limit your exposure, here are some simple tools out there.
Plume Air is a forecasting app for urban air pollution reporting on the most important pollutants — PM2.5, PM10, NO2 and O3. You can get actionable information for more than 300 cities worldwide. Plume Index is calculated to show the average pollution level and corresponds to 5 different levels of risk for health, from Fresh Air which is perfect for outdoor activities to Airpocalypse where the entire population should avoid outdoor activities where short term exposure constitutes a serious health risk. You also get relevant recommendations for outdoor sports, cycling, bringing out baby and eating outside. Other features include adjustment to sensitivity to pollution level, smart notifications and daily reports.
Clean Air in Cities app is a very simple app that reports the annual average levels of dangerous airborne particles (PM2.5) and estimates the attributable deaths for the calendar year-to-date for the pollution in local areas, regions and England. It is build by Simon Birkett, long time campaigner for better air quality in London. It’s a very simple app that helps build public understanding of the health impact of air pollution.
London Air App shows the latest air pollution monitoring based on weather stations in the greater london area. It displays NO2, Ozone, PM10, PM2.5 and SO2 data. The data and monitoring stations are managed by King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group. The app allows you to select by local authority or even select monitoring stations on particular roads.
City Air App is a detailed map that allows you to find areas of high pollution. This means that you can plan your route by avoiding the areas of high concentration of pollutions.
HazeToday is an app that monitors air quality index (AQI) in different locations. Giving the app permission to use your location, it will find the AQI in your location which is then displayed on a map. AQI data comes from the World Air Quality Index project which pools together data from all the national Environmental Protection Agency in the world .
Let us know what you think. If you are in some other parts of the world and use a different app, be sure to share this with the IYWTo community here.
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This series is written in collaboration with the 6heads community. 6heads is dedicated to shared learning at the join of sustainability and innovation. We are curious and experimental. Every month we bring together brilliant and curious minds to brainstorm on what we could do together, plan events, blogs, campaigns and whatever our curiosity may come up with.