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Building a clean air ecosystem

The #CleanAirTech Community members report limited availability of the monitoring, modelling, and localised air quality data

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Nine out of 10 people globally still breathe a mixture of toxic pollutants
Nine out of 10 people globally still breathe a mixture of toxic pollutants

While controlling emissions at source is delivering improvements to air quality, nine out of 10 people globally are still breathing a mixture of toxic pollutants, highlights a new white paper by Future Cities Catapult and British multinational, Johnson Matthey. This is responsible for an estimated eight million premature deaths and nearly $5 trillion in welfare costs, equivalent to six per cent of global economic output, says the paper.

 

The two organisations are working together to create a clean air technology ecosystem called #CleanAirTech Community. They emphasise that this is not an advisory or discussion group but rather aims to find tangible solutions to improve air quality. It wants to establish a dedicated and diverse network of stakeholders who are determined to tackle the air quality challenge through innovation and technology.

 

Action-oriented activities

 

The community has also published a white paper that sets out the key challenges cities face when it comes to tackling air quality and proposes action-oriented activities which could help contribute to improving air quality for all.

 

“This community has the potential to create new transformational opportunities for the growth of UK firms while making cities a cleaner and healthier place for their citizens,” says Dr Jon Kirkpatrick, chief delivery officer, Future Cities Catapult, which helps UK firms develop innovative products and services to meet the changing needs of cities.

 

Creating a Clean Air Technology Community: Driving Improved Air Quality through Technology and Collaboration, explores how barriers to clean air could be turned into enablers. It features six actionable challenge questions, developed by the #CleanAirTech Community:

  1. How might we change expectations and behaviours related to improving indoor air quality in offices and other non-domestic settings?
  2. How might we incentivise innovation and the use of materials and systems that deliver lower indoor household emissions?
  3. How might we reduce the emissions impact of ‘final mile’ goods movements and other fleet vehicles?
  4. How might we cultivate more ambitious consortia and collaborations that are better placed to leverage investment in applied research and solutions?
  5. How might we empower citizens, consumers and policymakers with simple and targeted information to make different consumer choices and lobby for change at the local and national level?
  6. How might we personalise, localise and visualise the problem of air pollution to empower individuals to change personal and business behaviours?

The paper also highlights the importance of gathering data and evidence to better understand the source of air pollution and its sources but the #CleanAirTech Community members report limited availability of the monitoring, modelling, and localised air quality data they require. The white paper states: “In addition to being inconvenient, this fragmented and inconsistent data landscape slows down new product development and prevents the measurement of the impact of implemented solutions.”

 

Examples of good practice and progress are highlighted in city case studies around the world, including in Paris, which is one of the first European countries to take active steps towards regulating indoor air quality in buildings accommodating children, and Helsinki, which has one of the first comprehensive city-wide air quality systems.

"This fragmented and inconsistent data landscape slows down new product development and prevents the measurement of the impact of implemented solutions”

“Beyond what is already being achieved through emission control, improving air quality remains a complex problem that we believe requires a creative, concerted effort from a multitude of different stakeholders to drive significant change,” says Alan Nelson, chief technology officer, Johnson Matthey.

 

The paper sets out how the community wants to deploy #CleanAirTech testbeds to showcase available technology as well as engage with communities, collaborate globally and define a business case for cleaner air.

 

It is keen to hear from businesses, academics, regulators, government leaders, organisations and innovators who are similarly driven to improve air quality and which have technology solutions and research data they would like to showcase or new innovative ideas that could kickstart a new collaboration project.

 

The full paper can be downloaded here.

 

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