CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

How polluted is your street?

250 sensors installed by the road

13 August, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

A sensor in Camden High Street

TWO hundred and fifty sensors are being installed by roadsides in an attempt to capture minute-by-minute air pollution recordings.

Camden Council describes this as the largest air quality monitoring project in any urban setting in the world.

The data will give a rating for the air we are breathing in each day. The Town Hall is working on the project with the Camden Clean Air Initiative, based in Arlington Road, Camden Town, and eco-tech group AirLabs.

Organisers say the information will help people choose which walking and cycling routes to take to avoid the dirtiest air.

Jeffrey Young, chief executive of the Camden Clean Air Initiative, a not- for-profit group campaigning against pollution, said: “During the pandemic, walking on our streets became more enjoyable as there were fewer cars and less vehicle-derived pollution in the air. This flagship project aims to provide the data needed to get us back to that point.”

Data collected will provide what AirLabs say is a “street-by-street picture of air quality in an area in real time” – and people will be soon able to see the results online.

As well as creating a boroughwide picture of dangerous pollutants, the new sensors also measure temperatures and humidity, and detect different types of airborne particles, from car exhausts to wood burners. They have been placed on lampposts and buildings.

AirLabs’ chief Marc Ottolini said the project will help drive future policies to tackle fumes. He added: “There’s no time to wait in tackling air pollution – we all suffer the health impacts it causes.”

Council environment chief Labour Councillor Adam Harrison said: “This project will form an important part of our work to protect public health by building a more detailed understanding of the sources of air pollution.”

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