A recent collaboration of Plume Labs – the team that created the superb flying detectors, DigitasLBi, Twitter UK and pigeons have started a campaign that can tell people about the air pollution levels in the region. While all of this sounds really cool, did you go back and read that again to make sure it said pigeons? The truth is that with their ability to evolve to accept urbanization, pigeons have finally made their way to the hiring zone.
In the last three days, ten pigeons have been making their rounds in London and helping monitor the pollution levels in the area they fly. Tiny backpacks attached to these pigeons help them pull of this amazing feat.
This team of Pigeon Air Patrol is the first of its kind, and in true bird fashion, they tweet about it. Twitter users who are located in the region where one of these birds are present can message the account @PigeonAir along with their location and they will get a reply with results which adhere to the guidelines set by the World Health Organization.
If you are trying to make sense of the results, it can vary from fresh which indicates low pollution levels in the region to extreme which means that the level of pollution is very high and people should stay indoors to avoid the harmful effects of pollution.
For those who are concerned about the birds, Plume Labs puts their anxieties to rest by ensuring that the pigeons are well cared for and they are minded by its own vet. The sensors that give them the ability to monitor air pollution are very small – 5cm x 3.8cm x 1.25cm. They are stitched to vests which allow the birds to move freely.
With 10,000 people in London losing their lives because of air pollution, this new effort makes information on air pollution more accessible so that people can take informed decisions to prevent or protect themselves from air pollution.