Know the air you breath
Hackney's free air pollution forecasting and alerting service airTEXT is being re-launched this week and now includes a new smart phone app, providing new ways for residents to learn about predicted air pollution, UV and grass pollen levels as well as day and night time temperatures.
Air pollution affects us all, especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors either walking, cycling, running or working, but particularly anyone who is suffering from asthma, bronchitis, heart problems or similar diseases as well as very young or elderly residents. The service is designed to help ensure you have the necessary medication at hand during times of high air pollution levels and to help prepare your day ahead to reduce exposure.
The service will send a warning message via text, voicemail or email if air pollution levels in Hackney are expected to reach moderate, high or very high levels. Users with smart phones can check pollution levels at any point during the day. Along with the alerts the airTEXT website includes street by street pollution maps and also lets users know what to do to try to avoid being affected by air pollution.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: "This service provides helpful data for residents who might need to take additional precautions during days when pollution levels may temporarily increase in parts of the borough."
To get the service you can either download the free airTEXT app, which has been created for iPhone and Android phone. Those who don't have access to such mobile phones can instead receive text alerts from the service by dialling follow airTEXT_hackney to 86444.
Those who currently receive pollution alerts by email or voicemail will continue to do so but SMS users have these new options. Visit www.hackney.gov.uk/airtext.htm for more info. The airTEXT website http://www.airtext.info/ also has a searchable interactive map of London which allows users to view predicted air pollution levels anywhere in London.
The airTEXT system has operated across London since 2007. The forecasting system, is run by CERC, using the ADMS-Urban air quality model for calculating the pollution locally. It, in turn, uses data from regional pollution models that benefit from satellite data to improve meteorological and pollution forecasts. Provision of satellite data and its use in provision of data and the creation of services for the public such as airTEXT is supported by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme, GMES research projects. GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is the European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation (www.gmes.info).
The airTEXT development and operation has been funded from various sources: ESA (European Space Agency), the EU’s Seventh Framework GMES (www.myair-eu.org), Defra, contributions from boroughs and GLA.