Challenge / Goal
Air pollution is the single biggest environmental health threat of our time. 7 million people die every year due to air pollution (WHO); the productivity of white-collar workers decreases by up to 50% in offices with bad air quality (Harvard). Air pollution causes 5 trillion USD in damages per year world-wide. However, in regard to air pollution stakeholders currently face numerous issues:
- Traditional air quality monitoring equipment is too large, expensive and costly to maintain to be practical for most uses;
- Complex and incomprehensible data: only experts can interpret it, while decision makers are left out;
- Lack of knowledge transfer between companies and cities in the area of air pollution mitigation and adaptation.
Nowadays, residents of Rothenburgort in Hamburg can access real-time data about the local air quality on the citizen portal, which is especially importnant for sensitive population groups (e.g. people with chronic diseases, pregnant women, children). At the same time the municipality of Rothenburgsort uses the accurate, yet comprehensible data and suggestions of the system to further optimize urban planning and provide more livable environment for its citizens. Moreover, the project helps to create consciousness for air quality and sustainability among the citizens, who demonstrated high engagement during citizen forums. It is reported that citizens use public transportation more often and factor sustainability into their daily life choices.
Breeze Technologies is creating a citizen-driven air quality sensing network in the district Rothenburgsort in Hamburg, Germany. Citizens are able to access hyperlocal data about local emissions, such as ozone, particulate matter, nitric oxides, carbon monoxide and ammonia via a web platform. Additionally, a daily email newsletter is available, informing about past and future air quality and suggesting behavioral changes to lessen their own impact on urban air pollution. Sensors are installed on private property to allow a faster and more agile project development cycle. Breeze Technologies identifies "hosts" for sensors through social media campaigns and calls through local initiatives and city officials.
Citizens "host" air quality sensors on their private property and can access local air quality through an easy to use web application.
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Planning time: < 0.5 years
Implementation time: < 0.5 years
Breeze Technologies, several city and district councils