Last year, almost 7 million people died from diseases caused by air pollution. 10,000 of those deaths were in London – a city that exceeded its EU air-pollution limit for the whole of 2016 by January 8th 2016.
Because air pollution is almost invisible, people can’t easily see when they’re putting themselves in harm’s way. And because the science explaining how it harms people is complicated, it can be hard for us to grasp just how big a problem air pollution is.
Environmental technology specialist Plume Labs is developing technology that helps people control personal exposure to air pollution and therefore improve their health. The challenge was getting Londoners to engage with it in a fresh way that made air pollution impossible to ignore.
Our solution? The Pigeon Air Patrol. The world’s first flock of avian environmental crusaders, the Pigeon Air Patrol flew around London equipped with Plume’s tiny air-pollution sensors. The Patrol monitored air-quality in real time – sharing results live on Twitter as they flew. And anyone tweeting @PigeonAir received an instant update on pollution in their local area, from the nearest Patrol pigeon flying above them.