The London borough of Camden has expanded its network of air quality sensors to capture and report ‘hyper-local data’ every minute and map pollution in real time.
Since the project started last summer, over 225 sensors have been installed on lampposts and buildings across the borough by environmental tech firm Airscape, with current data revealing “unhealthy” levels of air quality.
“Reducing air pollution is absolutely vital to improving the health and well-being of everyone in Camden,” said Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden.
“The detailed data from this network will revolutionise how we can engage with our community, giving us the power to make smarter, informed decisions to tackle air pollution.”
The initiative is the result of a collaboration between Airscape. Camden Council, and the Camden Clean Air Initiative.
Airscape claims the network provides 45 times more spatial resolution and refreshes 60 times more regularly than the existing network of air quality reference stations in Camden.
Speaking to capitaltribunenews.com, Dr Matthew Johnson, Chief Scientific Officer, AirScape, said: “There were previously five data points [in the borough] providing data hourly, there are now more than 225 data points providing data every minute.”
The firm did not disclose the total cost of the project, but said “the public purse has been spared with generous support from corporate sponsors, local businesses and community groups who have sponsored individual AirNodes”.
Data is publicly available at airscape.ai, where pollution levels from individuals sensors can be seen.
The overall air quality index (AQI) for the borough, since the sensors were installed, currently shows as “unhealthy”.
The council said the “overall” picture is a “representation of the health risk associated with long-term exposure to air pollution, which is more closely linked with adverse health outcomes than short-term exposures”.
“I’d like to thank AirScape, Camden Clean Air Initiative, Camden’s in-house team of air quality experts and street lighting team for their sterling work in getting this network set up,” added Cllr Harrison.
“Making this data freely accessible to all members of our community further demonstrates the council’s longstanding commitment to the open sharing of data in the public interest.”
At least 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution – over 20 times the number of deaths caused by road traffic accidents.
Toxic air is known to contribute to cancer, heart disease, strokes and asthma, and is estimated to cost society, businesses and health services more than £15 billion (US$18.2 million) a year.
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