GISCafe Weekly Review January 20th, 2018

 In a recent BBC TV broadcast, EarthSense Systems,  in close collaboration with resident groups, television producers and personality Dr Xand van Tulleken, went to the Kings Heath suburb of Birmingham, UK in December 2017 to demonstrate the air pollution challenges faced by typical urban communities with busy shopping areas and congested major streets.

EarthSense Zephyr sensor

According to the press materials, as part of a day long campaign of action, residents were urged to leave their cars at home, instead using public transport or walking or cycling for the daily commute and school runs. Volunteers carried out people and traffic surveys and Dr Xand van Tulleken showed his support presenting for the BBC TV programme “Fighting for Air” which aired on January 10th. The experiment utilized special air pollution sensors, developed by EarthSense, which monitored changes in air pollution on the day compared to recordings elsewhere in Birmingham.

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK. It has been determined that 16 of UK cities have illegal level of toxic fumes. It is estimated in one study that air pollution costs the UK  £20 billion a year in medical costs and lost labor.

In a demonstration, Dr. Xand van Tuileken donned a military grade mask with filters designed for chemical warfare. He said that, “at the moment I am breathing the cleanest air possible.” The air contains high levels of harmful pollution, from industry, construction, but in there in Birmingham, mostly from vehicles.

“To test just how dangerous the air we breathe is, I am first having to “detox” . Free my body from pollution,” said van Tuileken.

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