Although measures to curb the Corona virus have (almost) brought many polluters to a standstill, the effects on the trends from measurements are not as obviously visible as some may have expected. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Dr. Birgit Fullerton, Head of Data Sience of Hawa Dawa, mentions possible reasons why the effects of the lock-down are not more clearly and sustainably recognizable in the air pollutant concentration in the area of Munich Airport (Süddeutsche Zeitung “At the airport you can hear the sparrows chirping”). Read more
Hawa Dawa has completed a study on the impact of traffic on air quality in a town in southern Germany. The team collected data on air quality and traffic volume in the field and then correlated these values in-house. The aim of the study was to investigate the diverse effects of traffic and weather on air quality levels and pollution behaviour. A further hypothesis tested as part of the study was the extent to which speed limits or speed recommendations have an positive influence on air quality. Read more
In their study, which has been published in Science Direct, Nihan Celikkaya, Matthew Fullerton (Hawa Dawa) and Birgit Fullerton (Hawa Dawa), the focus was to see overall trends and sensor reactions to the changes in background air pollutant concentrations, wind speeds and traffic volumes:
Comprehensive information on air quality is very important for development and assessment of air pollution reduction measures, especially for urban areas facing these problems. Such information is useful not only for monitoring of air quality levels but also for validation of air quality modelling tools. These tools are used, among many application fields, to assess road transport related air pollution as well as to investigate impacts of traffic management measures. Today, in addition to high precision monitoring stations in the cities, there are several low-cost monitoring devices available which can provide additional information on a larger area with less costs. This paper investigates the utilization of such devices as an additional data source for air quality assessment through a case study in the city of Munich and focuses on PM10 measurements.
Hawa Dawa sees a unique opportunity for a sustainable and holistic solution in Munich
Hawa Dawa, a Munich-based company specialising in the management of air quality, sees the mobility measures demanded by #MunichForFuture as a unique opportunity for Munich to support a sustainable and holistic mobility approach well accepted by the general population. Such an approach opens up opportunities for general measures to reduce climate-specific pollutants to be combined ideally with specific measures to improve local air quality and thereby enhance quality of life. A balanced and comprehensible approach to introducing new regional mobility concepts drives better understanding and leverages greater acceptance by the citizens of Munich and its surrounding area.
In addition to the negative effects of climate pollutants on the earth’s climate, nitrogen oxide, linked directly to transport emissions, in its various forms contributes to the formation of tropospheric ozone, which, together with particulate matter (‘black carbon’) is one of the most potent short-lived climate pollutants. According to the latest studies, these pollutants cause up to 45% of climate change and are therefore also the focus of global climate policy. Here is a direct link between short-lived greenhouse gases and ambient air pollution, the more ‘every-day’ side of reducing emissions and global warming. Measures to combat transport-related emissions are therefore not only of substantial importance for helping reduce global climate change but also for improving local air quality.
As the proposed measures in Munich are drastic interventions, it is essential to measure success and make it transparent. This not only leads to better acceptance within the population, says Matt Fullerton, Head of Software Development and co-founder of Hawa Dawa, but also makes it possible to assess promptly whether the measures taken will have the desired effect and to react if necessary. “We know of several examples that have had unexpected, undesirable or disappointingly low effects. In particular, with selective and regionally limited measures, effects on other areas cannot be ignored,” Fullerton added. Examples include the diesel driving ban in Hamburg, which up until now has not led to reduced pollution. A statement of the effect would only be possible after a reasonable time and with the inclusion of additional environmental factors, so Fullerton. (https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/hamburg/Trotz-Diesel-Fahrverbot-nicht-weniger-Stickoxide,stickoxid138.html ). The introduction of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone toll in London is also worth referencing here. As a result of the zone, the number of taxis increased significantly within the area (https://theconversation.com/london-congestion-charge-what-worked-what-didnt-what-next-92478), which in turn led to a slowdown in public buses. Furthermore, in Madrid, a program to reduce emissions from road transport, which was only introduced in November 2018, was repealed immediately after the new mayor took office. After massive citizen protests and a corresponding court decision, the program was continued. “This demonstrates the importance of continuous and transparent communication on this topic,” explains Fullerton.
In response to this timely and urgent need for transparency, Hawa Dawa provides real-time air quality data in intuitive ways, to facilitate evaluation of achievement against target and increase transparency. Hawa Dawa is able to combine this information further with traffic, geo-, land-use, and even weather data to provide meaningful insights which serves as a sound basis for urban and regional decision-making (more information here).
Despite the immense impact of air pollution on areas such as civil protection (health and safety) and transport (reduced emissions, investment in sustainable mobility), air quality data remains an extremely scarce commodity. Throughout the Federal Republic of Germany, there are only around 115 relevant measuring stations; or one station per 700,000 inhabitants. The city of Munich has only three measuring stations in the inner-city area. Hawa Dawa’s IoT measuring boxes are a future-oriented option to close this huge data gap; a cost-effective solution with stable and measurement-reliable devices. (more information here)
About Matt Fullerton:
Matt Fullerton holds an MSc degree in Electronics by Research and an MEng degree in Electronics with Media Technology. He was the founder and technical director of Smartlane GmbH and is an expert for data processing and visualisation for the mobility market. As co-founder and head of the software team, he has been with Hawa Dawa since 2016.