The Breathe London network has launched a Breathe London Shop to allow individuals, businesses and organisations to purchase air quality monitoring nodes for their neighbourhoods. The network in collaboration Bloomberg Philanthropies has also launched a Breathe London Community Programme giving undre-represneted communities the chance to apply for 10 fully funded Nodes this year, rising to 30 Nodes in 2022.
The Breathe London network is spearheaded by the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London – the same group who run the London Air Quality Network. The group combines air pollution science, toxicology and epidemiology to determine the impacts of air pollution on health. In February 2020, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a four-year continuation of the pilot phase of the Breathe London network, which has more than 195 hyperlocal air quality monitors that bring real-time air quality data to Londoners via the Breathe London website.
The Mayor of London will invest £750,000 into the network to fund an initial 135 small sensors. Meanwhile Bloomberg Philanthropies is contributing £720,000 to focus on serving minority communities and support the research and impact evaluation by Imperial College.
“We know toxic air pollution in London stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illnesses, such as asthma. Now our new research confirms that that those exposed to the worst air pollution are more likely to be Londoners living in deprived areas and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities” said Mr Khan in a statement on 12 October. “The new air quality sensors we are announcing with Bloomberg Philanthropies is an important part of our work to raise awareness of toxic air pollution across London, making it easier for Londoners to monitor air quality in their local area.”
Up until now, sensor locations were dictated by organisations and authorities. The launch of the online shop and the Bloomberg sponsored nodes will allow communities to choose where they want to measure air pollution. The annual cost of a sensor is £1920, which includes the Node hardware, pre-deployment calibration checks, real-time network calibration checks and ongoing data management.
The Bloomberg sponsorship programme is open for applications for the next 8 weeks. Community groups, are encouraged to apply by completing a short form or uploading a video.
“Air pollution is a deadly problem in cities all over the world, and technology is giving us new ways to measure it and understand its effects,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York City. “By putting that technology in the hands of communities, this partnership will empower people to push for smart policies and give elected leaders the data they need to save lives in London. It will also encourage other cities to act.”
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