Making air pollution in Sheffield visible

Principal Investigator:

Lee Crookes


Breathing healthy air is a crucial component of health and, as a principle of environmental justice, every human should have the right to breathe clean air regardless of where they might live. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In Sheffield, for example, EU-specified safe thresholds for air quality are regularly breached and poor air quality is estimated to account for up to 500 premature deaths in the city every year. Furthermore, the impact of poor air quality on life expectancy and health is not felt evenly across the city.

Recruiting and training around 30 citizens as volunteer ‘citizen air quality scientists’, the purpose of this project is to initiate the development of a citizen-led, participatory approach to the mapping of air quality across the city. A dedicated website will be developed to which volunteers will be able to upload real-time measurements of nitrogen oxides, fine-particulate matter and other pollutants via a GPS-enabled smartphone. This will enable the development of a real-time, publicly available, online, crowd-sourced map of air quality at different locations across the city.


Research Councils UK