UK citizens are taking air pollution monitoring into their own hands

A growing number of citizens are monitoring local air quality because of fears official figures are not capturing “dangerous” levels of pollution. 

The environmental charity Friends of the Earth has said 70 local groups are now using their testing kits and noted a “surprising” increase in people taking monitoring into their own hands.

Oliver Hayes, a Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said:
“We’ve been surprised by the high demand for our air monitoring kits. 4,000 people have used them in less than a year, uncovering worrying levels of pollution in urban and rural areas alike.

“Most people seem understandably keen to learn about air quality where they live, work, or where their children go to school. But more than 70 local Friends of the Earth groups have used multiple testing kits to uncover a more detailed picture of pollution, often in places lacking much in the way of official monitoring stations.”

Dr Benjamin Barratt, senior lecturer in air quality science at King’s College London, agreed that the numbers doing this had risen.

“Air pollution has moved from being seen as an environmental concern to a health concern but it’s both, of course,” he said. “As a health concern people are more worried about their own families and their neighbourhoods so that has led to a rise in people monitoring air pollution for those reasons.”

Barratt says he hopes local work, if done correctly, can help inform decision-making and provide evidence about local situations.

Article originally published here.