Air quality sensors to monitor local pollution levels

Eight particulate matter (PM) sensors, like the one shown here, will be used to measure local pollution levels

GREEN Party members in Woking have set up what they say is the borough’s first air pollution monitoring network.

They have installed eight particulate matter (PM) sensors at locations between South West Woking and Byfleet, in a project that will last 12 months.

Monitors will also be used to measure pollution levels near the town centre, on busy main roads and roads near schools at peak traffic times.

As part of the initiative, the University of Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) and Guildford Living Lab (GLL) helped to calibrate the monitors before they were installed.

Woking Greens say they have set up the network because of increasing concerns about air pollution in the borough, which currently has no monitors that record pollutant particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter.

Local party spokesperson Jennifer Mason said: “In 2015, pollution was linked by the World Health Organisation and others to one in six deaths worldwide and led to around 50,000 deaths in the United Kingdom through its contribution towards increased levels of heart disease, lung cancer and strokes.

“Our network of monitors across Woking will study the current air pollution levels and ensure we are not exceeding the recommended maximum levels.”

The university’s GLL team, led by Professor Prashant Kumar, will also work closely with Woking Green Party to evaluate the project’s results after three, six and 12 months, giving a full picture of pollution levels recorded throughout a year.

Prof Kumar commented: “It is highly encouraging to see the community groups coming forward to help fight the intractable issue of air pollution.

“This is an excellent example of a community run sensor network in collaboration with researchers from GCARE. It is a truly citizen science initiative and we are very much looking forward to continue working together with this group of highly driven and committed people.”

Real-time readings from the sensor network will be made available to the public via the WeatherLink website. The findings will also be published on the EU/EEA European Index of Air Quality.

* Find out more about the work of Woking Green Party at www.wokinggreens.org.

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