I have already mentioned this app on a previous post but I was waiting for this update anxiously as it brings more sensors to the app. Local Haze is an app for iOS devices that helps consumers easily view and understand air quality data, in particular, Particulate Matter with aerodynamic diameters less than or equal to 2.5 microns (μm) also known as PM2.5.
Amazingly, the team behind Local Haze was able to connect to the uRAD Monitors API, as a result users and communities will be able to see PM2.5 data right from their phone or tablet with just a tap. Additionally, the users can now view PM1.0 and PM10 values when the sensors support these measurements.
This update to the Local Haze app also benefits Smoggie users and especially my volunteers around the world since it allows users to view and monitor the data from these devices.
Of course, the app supports many more data sources like PurpleAir, Luftdaten (with over 11,000 online devices), AirNow, US Department of State, uRADMonitors, and more to come.
Why is it important?
The easier and more comfortable we present data to the average people the more likely it is for them to embrace the technologies which are designed to increase awareness and to combat air pollution. People love their phones and they spend a great deal of time interacting with them, by porting air quality data to such devices, with the help of a free app, then it enables them to interact with their environment/communities.
Right now, while people all over the world are patiently waiting to go outdoors again, trying out Local Haze will show you the air quality outside your door. The covid-19 pandemic helped us see how air quality has improved significantly in cities all over the world and understand that urban air pollution is anthropogenic. It’s up to all of us to keep improving the way we live and the air we breathe.
It’s been a huge topic the fact that air quality in cities has improved dramatically since the lockdown began. Huge coverage from media all around the world. Most surprisingly, I get emails from people telling me that now they are able to see in much further distances on the horizon and the air smells clean as the air pollutants are not present in the atmosphere and I quote below a couple of the emails.
I thought of you this morning….with everyone staying home the pollution has almost went away…the air smells so good… (Texas, USA)
…it is amazing now we can see clearly the horizon from my house… (Los Angeles, USA)
With many examples like here in Madrid, air pollution falls 56% in the second half of March. In London, there is 28μg/m3 less NO2 in the atmosphere and in Edinburgh a whopping 37% decrease of NO2.
Which leads me to the conclusion that now people are more aware of the air pollution than before covid-19. People were used to living in polluted environments & didn’t understand the difference. If your whole life you live in an area where the AQ is poor you don’t expect more, you just take it as it is and unfortunately, without complaining. Most of the times you can’t even do anything as it doesn’t depend on you, some simple examples are when a neighbour is burning wood and when you leave near a busy road.
The other day I was asked what can we do to educate older generations about the issue. It is complicated because once you finish your studies and you start working or searching for a job, your mind is occupied with the need to support you and your family economically and you don’t care about the environment. A healthy and stable economy is a key ingredient to make everyone aware of our responsibility on this planet.
We need effective governance on long-term health and climate issues with the same willpower as are showing with this pandemic − covid-19.
In September 2019, I reviewed a great air quality monitor called Djinn. One of the unique features of this device is the algorithms that are running in its core. The team of Djinn was able to move even further their technology by designing a respiratory virus risk among others analytics on their dashboard, which is very handy during the covid-19 pandemic.
The team took part in the “A Call for Action” towards building the data infrastructure and ecosystem we need to tackle pandemics and other dynamic societal and environmental threats.Read More »