Goldsmiths, University of London

Monitoring pollution

The Citizen Sense project from Goldsmiths gives people the tools they need to collect data about their local environment.

As part of the project funded by the European Research Council, people were shown how to use specially-designed low-tech ‘Dustbox’ sensors to monitor the pollution they were exposed to in their everyday lives.

Residents using these sensors collected data suggesting that air pollution levels in South East London reached six times the WHO limit throughout 2017.

Their findings also suggested that previously overlooked sources of pollution such as urban regeneration and river traffic could be contributing to poor air quality.

These results led to questions being asked in Parliament and were used by campaigners to advocate for more government action to improve London’s air quality.

The Citizen Sense team went on to test how green spaces can combat pollution and developed a toolkit detailing which plants are best at indicating or reducing harmful pollutants.