Air quality monitoring initiative seeks support from cyclists

The meter weighs half a kilo, is about the size of a shoebox and can be put on a backpack or on a bike to monitor the air on daily commutes around town.

Matías Acosta received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the Jorge Sabato Institute at the University of San Martin, and in 2017 he was awarded a research grant from the University of Cambridge, UK. There is communication with other young researchers who were developing the platform Open Seneca To continue Scientific projects with social impact. suggest one of them Bicycle air quality monitoring.

When he returned to the country in 2019, he brought with him this project that he is coordinating today as the head of exploration for the accelerator lab at United Nations Development Programme.

“We wanted to measure air quality in cities, but Not steadily in a Some points where there are sensorsAnd but dynamic, roaming the cities. And the bike seemed to us the best optionIt promotes citizen participation and is a non-pollution mode of transportation, allowing for more accurate measurements,” says Acosta.

A view of the sensor used by more than 40 cyclists that was assembled by a group of students from different branches of engineering.

A view of the sensor used by more than 40 cyclists that was assembled by a group of students from different branches of engineering.

A view of the sensor used by more than 40 cyclists that was assembled by a group of students from different branches of engineering.

the sensors, the size of a shoebox, weigh 500 grams They are assembled by students from UBA and the National University of San Martin. can be worn in Basket or the rear rack From any bike, or on luggage. every team It measures different variables, such as levels of particulate matter in the air, humidity and temperature.

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This equipment is delivered and installed in bikes and backpacks people volunteer selected on the basis of Urban day bike tour, Until now circulation frequency.

After a few weeks, the information is collected from the sensors for Generate air pollution maps. Volunteers can see what degree of contamination they are exposed to, but data on their individual tours is not made public, to protect participants’ privacy.

Citizen science

this program “Cooperative Citizen Science”, in which non-scientists participate in an investigation that collects data and collaborates in its analysis, despite the pandemic, in Three Argentine cities: Buenos Aires (May 2019 and June 2020), Mendoza (September 2019) and Cordoba (November 2020). Soon the cities of Rosario and Tucuman will be added.

So far, a little more than 40 “cyclists” holding the scales A similar number of students from various branches of engineering assemble the equipment. Worldwide, the experiment was replicated in Nairobi, Kenya (May 2020), Lisbon, Portugal (May 2021), Stockholm, Sweden (May 2021) and Phnom Penh, Cambodia (May 2021).

This was a program ## x00201c;  Collaborative Citizen Science&# x00201d;  which included & # xf3;  With the participation of non-scientists who collect and collaborate in data analysis

This was a Collaborative Citizen Science program, in which non-scientists participated in data collection and collaborated in its analysis.

This was a Collaborative Citizen Science program, in which non-scientists participated in data collection and collaborated in its analysis.

the program Funded by the University of Cambridge Through the UK and Canada Postdoctoral Fund, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It also receives support from the UNDP Accelerator Laboratory and at the local level the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and municipal governments such as CABA, Mendoza, Córdoba and Tucumán are involved.

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The importance of measuring air quality lies in the fact that, according to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 92% of the world’s population is exposed to polluted air, which causes approximately 7 million premature deaths each year.

According to various international studies, the air quality in major cities of the world, though improved last year during the first weeks of childbirth; Today, pollution has been measured in terms of the three main pollutants (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, including plastic particles), and has even exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

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