Air Pollution Monitoring
UK air quality information is based on modelling, it’s a best guess on what air quality might be like locally.
As hourly pollution levels are not being monitored locally, there is no way to know if the air our children breathe as they travel to nursery and school is illegally or harmfully high. We decided to measure local pollution levels for ourselves and purchased an ‘AQMesh’ the most mature air monitor on the market.
We placed the monitor at the recommended 2.2m height on the lamp post at our local bus stop to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2). When NO2 is above 200ugm3 it is a toxic gas. The law requires that hourly measurements of NO2 must not exceed 200ugm3 more than 18 times in a year. Within the first four weeks, the monitor recorded seven exceedances above 200ugm3! One as high as 266ugm3!
There is no doubt that the NO2 hourly limit of 200ugm3 will be exceeded twelve more times in the next 11 months and that air pollution levels at our bus stop are illegally high and toxic.
The UK’s air quality monitoring system should be state of the art. We should have thousands of small, wireless air monitors, lightweight and battery powered, so that they can be quickly and simply moved and mounted at the locations where air quality matters most – where children are.
Pollution data from these monitors should be transmitted to the ‘Cloud’ providing near real-time useful air quality data to the smartphones of parents, allowing them to select the route to nursery or school that minimises their child’s exposure to the most harmful levels of air pollution and to monitor air pollution levels they are exposed whilst at school.
What we can do.
We’ve started with this single monitor but we need hundreds for London alone. Every nursery and school on a busy road should have its own air monitored, preferably one which can be easily moved to measure air pollution levels in each of the school classrooms.
We have made contact with EarthSense who have made great strides with their Zephyr air monitor which you may have seen used in the BBC documentary “Fighting For Air”. They are very keen to help our campaign and have offered a fantastic low price per monitor if we are able to buy the large number we would need to measure air pollution as described above.
Our first step is to finish raising the funds to pay for our existing monitor. Will you help with a small donation towards the cost?