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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019

This app aims to help you avoid the areas with most air pollution

This app reads the level of air pollution in your environment.

A cyclist wearing a mask cycles across London Bridge.
A cyclist wearing a mask cycles across London Bridge.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

EVER WONDERED HOW much pollution there is in the environment around you as you cycle or walk somewhere?

A new app, Airprobe, part-funded by the European Union, aims to let you know.

Using a small sensor box that you connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, the new app will allow you know where the pollution peaks are and just how much pollutants there are in the air.

Level reading

The device works by sucking in air. The box then sends readings for the level of ozone, black carbon and other pollutants to a central server, which then sends around information about the town’s polluted areas as well as peak pollution times to avoid.

Partners from Belgium, Germany, Italy and the UK developed the system, receiving more than €2 million from the EU.

More than 300 people in Antwerp, Kassel, Turin and London participated in the first tests. Over 28 million air quality points were collected.

Scientists can also use the information gathered to analyse pollution trends and post this information online for citizens and public authorities. This could, for example, help deal with traffic congestion.

Project coordinator Professor Vittorio Loreto said:

It is still too early to draw any conclusions, but it will be interesting to see how people change their behaviour as their awareness of the environment increases.

In 2010, more then 400 000 people are estimated to have died prematurely from air pollution in the EU.

Source: DigitalAgendaEU/YouTube

Read: Fears for Ireland’s air after health warnings in the UK>

Read: Women in areas of high air pollution more likely to have autistic babies>

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