Urban air quality predictor app
Since the Industrial Revolution, the air we breathe has become more and more dirty, especially in urban areas. Air pollution is carcinogenic to humans and was responsible for 7 million deaths in 2012 according to WHO estimates, yet it is an invisible killer and as such is all too easy to ignore.
Plume Labs is a smartphone app that uses open data to collect information from over 11,000 pollution monitoring stations in 150 metropolitan areas across the globe and present it all to the user in a neat, easy-to-navigate interface. Users can see air pollution levels in their city in real time, get hourly forecasts and receive personalised alerts and recommendations which allow them to plan their days according to ambient cleanliness – for example, they might choose to go for a run in the morning when pollution levels are lower.
The brainchild of Parisian Romain Lacombe, who claims that air pollution in Paris shortens life expectancy by six months, Plume Labs is also an important social tool. When pollution levels in Paris peaked alarmingly in March 2015, ranking the city higher than Shanghai and Beijing, Plume Labs’ report alerted the French government to the scale of the problem. They responded by bringing in measures to halve the number of cars on the road that day.
A pilot release of the Plume Air Report in Paris ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit has received tens of thousands of downloads since its launch in May 2015. The app is now available as a free download on the App Store and from Google Play. If your city is not included in the reports, you can sign up to be alerted when it is.
Image 'Chrysler Blue' courtesty of Young Sok Yun.
Last updated: 27th of September, 2015