What is Solent Air Watch?
Solent Air Watch is a citizen science project which is developing ways of improving air quality in and around Southampton.
How can I help?
Is air pollution bad?
We’re not a fan of using scary facts for effect. Yes, it is bad, and responsible for a lot of ailments and deaths in and around Southampton. The issue is well described here.
How can monitoring help air quality?
On its own, it can’t. The project is designed to develop plans around air quality and traffic data that we collect. By collecting people’s ideas to improve pollution hot spots we can show demand for new services and regulations to be provided by local businesses and government. For example, if we can show that there is support for a new bus lane and more services, and can demonstrate this, it is more likely to happen.
Are you a pressure group?
We are not. We’re only interested in the science and focus on collaboratively collecting and explaining air quality data. Our aim is to help the residents of the Solent region propose and achieve their own scientifically valid clean air plans.
How will you do that?
We’ve developed a prototype air quality monitor called Sniffy. We host a community air quality map which allows people to report areas of good and bad pollution and ideas for how to improve them. We’re hoping to get a large list of suggestions for very localised problems. We think that people living near the issues will have the best insights on how to solve them.
That’s nice of you, what’s in it for you?
We’re doing it because we are underwhelmed by the governments response to missing the legally binding air quality targets. We want to change how things are done without dictating ideas to people. We’re curious what ideas people will come up with and want to support forming a local consensus. We also want to support locals in building their careers. We have a national skill shortage and lots of people unemployed. We’d like to help people develop new skills sets and transform their careers.