In a bold and dynamic move last month, the European Parliament took a significant step toward addressing air pollution and ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment for European citizens. The vote, which saw 363 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in favor, 226 against, and 46 abstentions, resulted in the adoption of a revised law aimed at improving air quality in the European Union (EU).
While the alignment of EU air quality standards with the recommendations set by the World Health Organization (WHO) is indeed great news and very welcome, it’s crucial to recognise that the WHO emphasises the pivotal role of data in the global fight against air pollution.
To go one step further and truly make a difference, we must adopt an innovative and scientific approach, a hybrid strategy that combines the monitoring ‘supersites’ with an additional layer of street-level air quality data in real time provided by AirScape’s dense sensor network. The WHO’s recent guidance underscores the importance of comprehensive data collection and management.
MEPs have rightly emphasised the need to standardise air quality indices across the EU and make air quality information more accessible with hourly updates. Incorporating AirScape’s data into this system aligns with the WHO’s recommendation that every country should have access to reference-grade monitors and multiple methods for a comprehensive air quality management knowledge base.
This data, instantaneously available to the public via airscape.ai, empowers individuals to safeguard their health and advocate for progressive air quality policies, aligning perfectly with the WHO’s call to action for data-driven air quality management.
The European Parliament’s commitment to addressing air pollution is great news, and the alignment with WHO guidelines is a significant step. However, embracing a hybrid approach that combines established monitoring stations with AirScape’s innovative sensor network can further enhance our efforts to achieve cleaner air and a healthier environment.
With the European Parliament’s position now established, attention turns to the European Council, representing national governments. The council will likely define its negotiation position this year, with hopes of reaching a political agreement with the Parliament by mid-next year, ultimately leading to the adoption of the revised Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD).
This alignment is set to take effect by 2035, five years later than the initial recommendation put forth by the Environment Committee. While the stricter standards have been welcomed, there is some frustration that it will be over a decade before people can benefit from these improvements.
This move by the European Parliament demonstrates a commitment to addressing the critical issue of air pollution and aligning EU standards with global health recommendations. As we collectively strive for cleaner air and a healthier future, AirScape is proud to be part of the solution.
For further insight, the WHO’s recent statement highlighting the key role of data in tackling air pollution globally is here.
Through the collaboration of academia, technology, and urban planning, the Dublin PortAIR project is a comprehensive effort to assess and mitigate air pollution originating from Dublin Port. In his new video, Prof. John Wenger delves into the science and strategies behind this groundbreaking project, illuminating its synergy with AirScape’s mission.
About Dublin PortAIR Project
The PortAIR project represents a multi-disciplinary approach to combat air pollution, bringing together year-long monitoring, intensive field campaigns, and sophisticated modeling techniques. Focused on the Dublin Port area, a major hub through which 85% of Ireland’s shipping passes, this project aims to furnish key stakeholders with actionable data to create air quality action plans.
By deploying nine robust AirNodes around Dublin Port, we’re capturing real-time, high-resolution air quality data. This information complements the project’s extensive measurement-analysis methodology, adding layers of depth and reach to their research.
“One of the innovative parts of this project is the deployment of a low-cost sensor network …. this gives us a better map of the emissions and pollution around the whole port area. This is an interesting development because it might well be a way of monitoring the port area going forward and I think Dublin Port Company would be interested in the results of this activity”Professor John Wenger, Atmospheric Chemistry, University College Cork
Weathering the Storms
Our technology doesn’t just record data; it defies the elements. Our AirNodes faced their first major test against the fury of Storm Danielle and emerged unscathed, a testament to their resilience.
Watch the Video
For a deep dive into the project and its ambitious aims, find out more about the project here, read and download our case study here, and watch the latest video instalment from Prof. John Wenger’s video here.
In our modern world, where industries, transportation, and burgeoning urban growth contribute to an invisible threat—air pollution—we find ourselves on the cusp of a revolution.
The statistics are deeply concerning. Air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of seven million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization. The AQLI further reveals that particulate air pollution decreases the average life expectancy by approximately 2.2 years. This is greater than the impacts of smoking, substance abuse, contaminated water, and over a hundred times that of war and terrorism.
If this were any other health crisis, there would be global outrage, swift action, and a dedicated drive to find the most efficient solution. Yet, the current approach to air pollution is entangled in bureaucracy and high expenditures, overlooking innovative, cost-effective solutions available today.
The recent TEMPO mission is a flagship project representing the combined expertise and resources of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and 21 universities across three countries. Lauded as an investigation of “unprecedented scope, scale, and sophistication,” TEMPO seeks to take a comprehensive census of air pollution across North America. This satellite-based approach, a decade and $210 million in the making, aims to offer panoramic insights into air pollution across North America.
But with such a hefty investment equivalent to the GDP of some smaller nations and a decade spent in its inception, does TEMPO represent the zenith of our capabilities in air quality monitoring? Its panoramic view misses the granular insights that street-level air quality data can provide.
Consider the capabilities of TEMPO, which can monitor the density of Nitrogen Dioxide across areas up to 10 square kilometers, updating once every hour. Now, compare this with a dense, low-cost sensor network like AirScape. The network in the London Borough of Camden alone spans 22 square kilometers—that’s the equivalent of two TEMPO pixels but with 100 times the data density. Not only that, they update this data every minute, a 60-fold increase in temporal resolution. And while TEMPO provides an averaged view across the entire atmospheric column, AirScape delivers granular data on Nitrogen Dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, and CO2 right at street level—exactly where people actually breathe.
Best of all, it’s much cheaper. For the same investment directed into this satellite mission, we could have deployed real-time, street-level air quality monitoring systems in hundreds of US cities. Low-cost dense sensors provide granular insights into air quality. Such systems could monitor the air quality in places often neglected by satellites due to their limited spatial and temporal resolution.
Now, imagine the power of democratizing this air quality data at such a granular level. Communities, irrespective of their socioeconomic backgrounds, would have access to real-time data on the quality of the air they breathe. This is vital, especially when current monitoring often favours higher-income, predominantly white areas, leaving gaps in low-income and non-white neighbourhoods. Our approach goes beyond just scientific precision; it aims for fairness and inclusivity, giving every community the tools to take impactful actions to tackle air pollution hotspots.
This isn’t a call to negate the value of satellite missions. Such initiatives have their place in the grand tapestry of environmental science. TEMPO’s broad, atmospheric insights play a crucial role in understanding air pollution’s global implications, influencing international policies and climate models. However, lives are at stake. How does it help the child or adult on the street take a healthier route to school or work? How does it enable people to make informed decisions about outdoor activity without breathing in toxic air? When every breath can be a ticket to chronic health conditions, it becomes essential to question our strategies and embrace effective, timely solutions.
It’s time for a paradigm shift in how we manage our environment, aligning technology and innovation, where clean air isn’t a privilege but a human right. By leveraging both TEMPO’s capabilities and the adaptability of street-level monitoring, we can forge a path that ensures clean air isn’t just a scientific endeavor but a right accessible to all. It’s time to consider tools that offer swift, widespread, and democratic solutions, ensuring that every citizen, no matter where they live, can breathe a little easier.
In a world where innovation drives progress, our approach to air quality should be no different. The health of millions depends upon it; let’s ensure our solutions are as agile, cost-effective, and far-reaching as the challenges they aim to address.
AirScape’s AirNode sensors, primarily designed to measure air pollution, were used in a groundbreaking study that has significantly broadened their application. This research demonstrated that environmental DNA (eDNA), the genetic material shed by organisms into their surrounding environment, is not just found in water or soil – it’s also in the air around us.
In the study, “Detection of airborne vertebrate eDNA: Applications for aerobiology and monitoring”, researchers including our CSO, Matthew Johnson, found atmospheric eDNA from various animal species, reshaping our understanding of ecological monitoring. Traditionally, studying biodiversity often requires labour-intensive surveys and, sometimes, invasive physical trapping of species. However, this study shows that eDNA research can provide a non-invasive, efficient, and comprehensive alternative.
AirNode sensors were used to collect, filter, and analyse airborne eDNA. By capturing microscopic particles from sources like skin cells, hair, and pollen, the researchers could match the resulting genetic codes to an extensive database of known sequences from different species. This process identified a wide range of local vertebrate taxa without visual confirmation or physical trapping, offering a non-invasive and efficient way to monitor biodiversity.
And the story doesn’t end there. Our AirNode sensors could detect hard-to-find species, such as those living in dry environments, burrows, caves, or flying beyond the range of wildlife cameras. This dramatically expands the reach of ecological studies and shows that our AirNode sensors can provide insights beyond just air pollution.
Challenges remain, such as understanding the travel distance of eDNA, deciphering how animals shed DNA, and preventing contamination. However, looking back at this revolutionary study, we’re excited about the future of biodiversity monitoring. It’s clear that the potential of AirNode sensors extends far beyond measuring air pollution – the secrets of biodiversity are literally in the air!
Discover more about our cutting-edge AirNode sensors here.
Our latest report analyses the air quality in Camden, London, during June 2023. This comprehensive study, which involved data from 80 sensor nodes, underscores concerns about PM2.5, O3, and NO2 pollution levels in the borough.
Perhaps the most striking revelation in this report is the persistent breach of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for NO2, especially in areas with heavy traffic. The data demonstrate a direct correlation between heightened NO2 levels and increased temperatures, indicating a pressing need for the implementation of effective pollution control measures.
The report also indicates a surge in O3 concentrations during June, indicating the link to prolonged periods of sunshine and higher temperatures. Notably, between the 10th and 18th June, O3 levels noticeably increased and triggered a city-wide high pollution alert.
Additionally, PM2.5 levels elicited concerns, with the report noting significant surges on specific days in June. Localised pollution hotspots were observed in High Holborn, Fitzjohn’s Ave, and North End Way.
Given the overall rise in Camden’s Air Quality Index (AQI) during June, AirScape’s street-level air quality data in real time empowers immediate and strategic action to improve the area’s air quality.
For a deeper dive into the report and further insights into the air pollution trends in Camden, take a look at the full report here. This in-depth scientific analysis holds significant implications for future air quality management policies and initiatives.
✅ Consistent NO2 levels, but still exceeding guidelines
✅ Ozone concentrations rising due to sunshine and higher temperatures
✅ Weather factors impacting ozone levels (low wind speeds, increased cloud coverage)
✅ Decreased PM2.5 concentrations, with localised spikes in pollution
✅ Data empowers individuals, businesses and policymakers to make informed decisions for cleaner air
The AirScape network in Camden provides individuals, businesses, and governments with hyper-local, real-time data to make informed decisions. Armed with this actionable information, stakeholders can implement targeted strategies to reduce NO2 emissions, be aware of weather-related factors affecting ozone concentrations, and address pollution hotspots for PM2.5.
Improving air quality requires a collective effort to implement solutions, and create a cleaner and healthier city for everyone. But you can’t manage what you can’t measure. AirScape makes the invisible visible.
For a comprehensive understanding of the data, take a look at the latest report here ?
In our modern era, data is often touted as the new oil, driving not only business decisions but increasingly, environmental improvements. At AirScape, we have leveraged the power of air quality data to spark meaningful changes in urban spaces across the globe, proving that data is indeed a formidable force in our fight against air pollution.
AirScape’s street-level, real-time air quality data has been instrumental in many parts of the world, beyond London, guiding informed decisions and fostering healthier, more sustainable communities.
In a landmark collaboration with the Camden Clean Air Initiative and Camden Council, we installed 229 real-time air quality sensors in the borough. This world-first deployment provides residents with hyper-local air quality data every minute, empowering them to make informed decisions for their health and advocate for policy change. The dense network of sensors actively monitors nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone, offering an unprecedented level of spatial resolution and frequency of updates.
This initiative underscores the transformative potential of real-time air quality sensors and serves as an exemplary model for communities worldwide. By making data accessible to everyone, on our user-friendly map platform at airscape.ai, we’re empowering the community to fight against air pollution effectively.
In Denmark, we’re part of the Green Construction Site of the Future project, an initiative aiming to reduce the environmental impact of construction activities. Our real-time monitoring of air quality and noise on and around the construction site provides transparency and documentation of the project’s environmental impact. This initiative also involves converting construction machines to electricity and other alternative fuels, dust control technologies, logistics optimisation, and a digital twin for emission reduction opportunities.
The project, concluding in December 2023, promises to deliver significant insights on the most effective ways to minimise environmental impact in the construction industry.
In Westminster, we partnered with an estate owner facing the challenge of improving the neighborhood’s air quality. With a goal of pedestrianising a street through the estate, our sensors played a crucial role in gathering evidence of the positive effects of restricting vehicle access. Our real-time air quality data provided tangible evidence of significantly lower levels of NO2 in the pedestrianised street, influencing the local authorities’ decision to consider permanent pedestrianisation.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. From assisting policymakers in documenting the effects of interventions to enabling researchers to correlate pollution with health impacts, our data-driven approach is making a significant impact. We’re helping businesses show their commitment to the community and aiding individuals to choose healthier routes and make informed decisions about where to live, work, and play. At AirScape, we firmly believe that when it comes to tackling air pollution, knowledge truly is power.
The power of air quality data in combating environmental issues is undeniable. As we continue to innovate, we are encouraged by the impact our data has had and the role it plays in driving change. We remain committed to our mission of making air pollution visible and actionable, empowering individuals, communities, and policymakers alike to contribute to a cleaner, healthier future.
For more detailed insights into how our data has been used to drive positive environmental change, check out the case studies on our website.
Change begins with awareness. Together, let’s make the invisible, visible, playing our part in making our air cleaner, one data point at a time.
At AirScape, our mission is to inspire and empower a generation to make informed quality-of-life decisions with reliable air quality data. We envision a world without air pollution-related deaths and illnesses, where clean air is a conscious thought, easily accessible, whoever you are, wherever you are.
We firmly believe that actionable air quality data is key to creating the change we want to see. Our dedication to this cause has driven significant strides in the fight against air pollution, fostering cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable urban environments. London is one such city where our efforts have made a tangible difference.
AirScape combines dense sensor network data with computational fluid dynamics, landscape insights, and interpolation algorithms to provide a detailed picture of air quality data at a street level, in real time. This solution is more reliable, cost-effective, and user-friendly than any other solution on the market.
AirScape is shaping the future of air quality management in London by:
Identifying and Alerting about Local Incidents: Real-time air quality data from AirScape helps in the timely identification of pollution incidents, alerting citizens about potential health risks. This proactive approach ensures that residents can take necessary precautions, reducing their exposure to pollution.
Highlighting Pollution Hotspots: We’ve been able to pinpoint pollution hotspots, primarily caused by traffic and construction activities. This data puts governments in control, informing public policy, and investment decisions for better air quality management.
Understanding the Problem Over Time: Our sustained monitoring of air quality over time helps understand the problem’s magnitude, its sources, and its evolution. It provides a detailed overview of when and where pollution is coming from, enabling effective intervention strategies.
Measuring Economic Impact: By correlating air pollution data with health and economic indicators, we provide insights into the economic impact of air pollution, further emphasising the need for air quality improvement measures.
Promoting Responsible Behaviour: Accessible air quality data promotes responsible behaviour from companies and industries by holding them accountable for their environmental impact.
Protecting the Vulnerable: By identifying areas with high pollution levels, we ensure that protective measures can be implemented to safeguard those disproportionately affected by air pollution.
Empowering Citizens: Our easily accessible data enables people to make informed decisions for their health and wellbeing. By making air pollution visible, we increase public awareness and encourage individual actions towards cleaner air.
For over a year, we’ve been monitoring air quality in Camden, one of London’s busiest boroughs, and partnering closely with The Camden Clean Air Initiative. As we celebrate the progress in Camden, we are in talks with other London boroughs and businesses to extend our network. We envision a city-wide, real-time air quality monitoring system to empower even more communities with knowledge and control over the air they breathe.
The fight against air pollution is only just beginning, but we are optimistic. Technology is a powerful weapon in this fight, and as we continue to innovate and deepen our understanding of air pollution, we believe we can make a significant difference.
At AirScape, we’ve seen the transformative power of actionable data in shaping healthier, more sustainable communities. We’ve witnessed how our real-time, street-level air quality data can spur effective action and foster a new consciousness about the air we breathe. But we can’t do it alone.
Clean air should not be a privilege – it is a human right. To turn this vision into a reality, we need governments, businesses, communities, and individuals to commit to the cause. Whether it’s adopting smarter policies, investing in cleaner technologies, or just being more mindful of our everyday actions, each one of us has a role to play. The first step is to understand the problem. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, or see.
We’re eager to partner with more boroughs and businesses across London and beyond. If you’re a local government official, a community leader, or just a concerned citizen and believe your area could benefit from AirScape, we want to hear from you.
Let’s work together to make clean air easily accessible, whoever you are, wherever you are. Get in touch now!
Clean air, like clean water and uncontaminated food, is a fundamental human necessity. But how often do we pause to consider the quality of the air we breathe? According to the World Health Organization, nine out of ten of us breathe air that exceeds their safety guidelines. This invisible threat poses severe risks to our health and the environment.
Air pollution is the presence of substances in the air that can cause harm or discomfort to humans, animals, or the environment. These pollutants can be either natural (like volcanic ash or pollen) or man-made (like vehicle emissions or industrial waste).
The main types of air pollution include particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. Our latest AirNodeTM can measure up to seven pollutants:
PM2.5 (Fine Particulate Matter): These are extremely small particles, often described as fine dust, with a diameter of 2.5 µm or smaller. Because of their small size, PM2.5 particles can travel deep into the human respiratory system, reaching the lungs and even entering the bloodstream. Long-term exposure can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, respiratory problems, and even premature death.
PM10 (Coarse Particulate Matter): PM10 refers to particles with a diameter of up to 10 µm. While larger than PM2.5, these particles can still be inhaled and cause health problems. PM10 often originates from sources like road dust, crushing and grinding operations, and certain agricultural activities.
NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide): This is a reddish-brown gas with a sharp, acrid smell. Nitrogen dioxide primarily gets in the air from burning fossil fuels. It contributes to the formation of smog and can exacerbate respiratory conditions, particularly asthma.
O3 (Ozone): In the upper atmosphere, ozone is beneficial by protecting us from harmful sun rays. However, ground-level ozone (tropospheric ozone) is a harmful pollutant. It is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.
CO (Carbon Monoxide): This is a colourless, odourless gas that is harmful when inhaled in large amounts. The greatest sources of CO to outdoor air are cars, trucks, and other vehicles or machinery that burn fossil fuels. High levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide): Another colourless gas with a strong, unpleasant smell. It is produced from burning fossil fuels, especially in power plants and industrial processes that use coal or oil. SO2 can harm the human respiratory system and make breathing difficult. It’s also a contributor to the formation of acid rain.
HC (HydroCarbons): These are organic compounds consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. They can be emitted naturally (e.g., from plant life) and due to human activities (e.g., burning fossil fuels). Some hydrocarbons are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can react with NOx and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a key component of smog.
Each of these pollutants poses a unique threat to our health and environment. By tracking these pollutants, AirScape provides valuable data for individuals, businesses, and governments to make informed decisions, promoting cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable urban environments.
On a health level, pollutants can cause or exacerbate conditions like asthma, lung disease, and heart disease. Long-term exposure can even lead to premature death. Vulnerable people such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions are particularly at risk.
The environment is also severely affected by air pollution. Acid rain, caused by sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, can harm vegetation and aquatic ecosystems. Ground-level ozone can damage crops and other vegetation, reducing agricultural productivity. Air pollution also plays a significant role in climate change.
The invisible threat of air pollution is a shared responsibility, one that demands our immediate attention and action.
Street-level, air quality data in real time, enables everyone to understand, manage, and ultimately reduce air pollution. AirScape brings visibility to the invisible, allowing you to identify problem areas, deploy targeted interventions, and measure their effectiveness. This detailed insight supports informed decision-making and empowers you to improve the air quality in your community.
We believe that clean air is a human right, and a vital aspect of community health and wellbeing. Every breath of fresh air counts towards a healthier and more sustainable planet.
Find out how AirScape can support your air quality initiatives and goals by visiting our platform at airscape.ai.
In the continual pursuit of improving urban air quality, our most recent Pollution Events Report provides an in-depth analysis of pollution patterns in Camden, London, during April 2023. The report, authored by Szymon Kwiatkowski, uses data gathered from a network of AirNodes sensors distributed throughout the city, shedding light on the dynamics of key pollutants, PM2.5, O3, and NO2, in correlation with various weather conditions.
The examination of NO2 data reveals a consistent daily pattern of pollutant formation with minimal variation in average monthly concentrations. A key finding is the direct correlation between rising NO2 levels and declining temperatures as well as slower wind speeds. It also indicates that the highest NO2 concentrations are closely linked to lower temperatures.
The average NO2 concentration in April significantly exceeded the World Health Organization’s guidelines for a 24-hour NO2 average. This pattern, persisting since the start of the year, underlines the urgent need for strategies to further reduce NO2 emissions in Camden.
The O3 concentrations in April showed a more pronounced change compared to NO2. The report shows a progressive increase in average O3 concentrations over the period from February to April, likely due to extended periods of sunshine. Interestingly, O3 concentration is shown to decrease during periods of low wind speeds and winds from the north, pointing to the significant influence of wind conditions on O3 concentrations.
The PM2.5 data unveils an overall increase in its average concentration in April as compared to March, albeit still lower than those recorded in winter months. Particularly interesting are the localised spikes seen around Drury Lane and High Holborn, which experienced more frequent incidents of elevated PM pollution. These observations emphasise the significance of hyper-local monitoring to inform targeted mitigation efforts.
The AQI levels in April, reflective of the overall pollution load, were higher. This aligns with the sequential monthly increases observed across all the pollutants, underlining the necessity of sustained and proactive measures for improving air quality.
As the latest in a series of monthly reports, the Camden Pollution Events Report underscores the power of consistent, detailed monitoring in understanding and addressing urban air pollution. The clear correlations established between pollutant concentrations, hyper-local events, regional pollution and weather conditions offer a data-driven path towards effective interventions.
With this level of granular data, air quality city officials are equipped to make informed decisions and strategies. This highlights the invaluable role of technology and meticulous data analysis in our shared journey towards cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable urban spaces.