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Air-quality monitors to be placed around the Island – including every school – by September

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HIGH-TECH air-quality monitors are to be placed around the Island – including at every school – by September in a pilot scheme which will allow people to access the data in real time online.

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The information, which will eventually be collected by 300 sensors once the full project is rolled out, will also be used to help inform the policies set by the States, which just weeks ago voted to declare a ‘climate change emergency’.

The sensors will be installed by UK company AirSensa, which approached Digital Jersey after seeing its Sandbox initiative which encourages companies and entrepreneurs to test new products in the Island before rolling them out to a wider audience.

They will measure ozone, nitrogen dioxide, CO2, particulate matter, temperature and humidity and also have the potential to include other environmental sensors at a later date.

Locations for the sensors are still being decided but it is hoped they will be in place in time for the start of the new school term. The information they collect will then be available online at gov.je and in future from an app.

Environment Minister John Young provided details about the project in a written States question responding to Deputy Rob Ward, the politician who brought the climate change emergency proposition.

In it the minister added: ‘Officers from the Government of Jersey, Environmental Health and Eco-active teams are working on an educational package for schools. This is being piloted now and will allow those schools which choose to take part to monitor air quality around their school to better understand air quality, pollution issues, and to take part in a citizen science project.’

Deputy Ward welcomed the project and said: ‘We will have to see what the data tells us and be very certain to ensure that we act on any negative results.

‘The health of our Islanders, especially children around schools, must be our priority.’

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Nitrogen dioxide is already measured at Halkett Place and at 12 other sites using passive diffusion tubes which are sent off monthly for analysis. Diffusion tubes are also used to measure four volatile organic compounds at six other sites around the Island.

However, the AirSensa project will provide real-time data for the first time.

Jonathan Steel, chief executive of AirSensa, said it would be the first hyper-local real-time air-quality-monitoring network to cover an entire jurisdiction.

‘Air pollution directly impacts economic performance and quality of life around the world, so it’s exciting to see a government so close to home taking a lead in this way,’ he said. ‘This first step of 30 sensors will allow us to demonstrate some early insights, while planning the remaining roll-out of both air-quality and other sensor types.’

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
author

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