Participative measurements of air quality and impacts on population health in Southern countries
AIRCROWD-AFRICA aims to develop an innovative technical solution as well as a participative approach to respond to the worsening of air pollution in Southern countries, with its major health, environmental and economic consequences for the population and the territories concerned.
Air pollution constitutes a major threat to health through respiratory and cardiovascular diseases which kill nearly 7 million people worldwide each year, the vast majority of victims (90%) being located in countries with low or middle income, mainly in Asia and Africa. According to the WHO, in 2018, Africa had more than a million deaths annually due to air pollution. In 2016, of the total worldwide deaths attributable to the effects of atmospheric pollution (ambient and indoor air), 9% involved children.
Episodes of air pollution will become more frequent and more acute under the effect of future climate change. Thus, global warming is expected to increase the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, which will contribute to further deterioration of air quality on a regional scale; a surplus of ozone and aerosols will be produced, not without consequences for health. It is urban areas that produce most of the pollution of human origin, and in particular pollution by fine particles and nitrogen dioxide. Since 2015, more than half of Africa's population has lived in cities, exposed to levels of air pollution still above WHO guidelines. Their urban population is growing at a very rapid rate (close to 5% per year), at the same time as poverty and precarious neighborhoods are increasing, and they are spreading out faster than the planning and management of urban services are developing.
Africa also faces a lack of infrastructure to monitor air pollution levels and data to assess the impact of this pollution on human health. Reliable data is lacking in most African metropolises to encourage local action. It is this major challenge that the AirCrowd-Africa project wishes to address.
The project aims to measure, at low cost, air quality in urban areas by combining satellite data and terrestrial data from a network of micro-stations for environmental measurement, to observe the impact of ambient air quality on the health of residents, to involve the population and local stakeholders in a collective approach, to encourage changes in lifestyle habits and individual behaviors, and ultimately to encourage public action.
The value proposition, in comparison with existing solutions (industrial air quality measuring stations which are expensive and difficult to maintain, satellite measurement with low precision and dependent on aerology), is to merge different data sources (terrestrial and spatial environmental data, local health data), to produce high-resolution maps (digital twin) from these data, and to model alternative urban development strategies based on these datasets and serious games.
The local partners associated with the project are:
CNHU-PPC , the National Hospital and University Center for Pneumo-Phtisiology of Cotonou is the national reference center for tuberculosis and respiratory diseases in Benin. He is involved in numerous research projects and has cohorts of asthma patients.
CGQA , the Dakar Air Quality Management Center, dependent on the Directorate of the Environment and Classified Establishments (Ministry of the Environment of Senegal) which has installed several industrial stations for measuring atmospheric pollutants.
LASME , the Material and Environmental Sciences Laboratory of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University in Abidjan through the “Aerosol and pollution” team who develops expertise in the observation of atmospheric pollution phenomena and studies its impacts.
Territories for experimentation
- Cotonou, Benin
- Dakar, Senegal
- Abidjan, Ivory Coast
- Copernicus Sentinel-5P Level 2
- Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)
- TeleCense data : building footprint from Sentinel-1 & 2, distribution of human activities (residential, non-residential, industries, transport), estimation and projection of the population , distribution by gender and age groups
- Road, air and maritime traffic data
- Data from ground measurement stations, where they exist (openAQ.org site, iqAir.com, aqicn.org, etc.) or the Open Source QameleO micro-stations , designed by the IRD in the project and tested in Dijon and Dakar
- Weather data: temperatures, rain and wind
- Health data : 1) IRD study of the AirQali-4-AsmAfri (A4A) project which establishes the relationship between air pollution and asthma among children in Benin; 2) MASK-air® mobile application from the partner MASK-air
Results – Final product(s)
Faced with the major health challenges linked to atmospheric pollution in the metropolises of the Southern countries, AirCrowd-Africa proposes to combine several innovations:
- A network of micro-stations for the spatialized measurement of urban pollution, an open source model built on site (FabLAB), low cost and locally repairable.
- A software for analyzing satellite atmospheric data and assisting with the positioning of the micro-stations and the calibration of sensors.
- MASK-air®, a mobile health application for assessing daily control of allergic rhinitis and asthma (available free of charge in 28 countries) and for analyzing health data and making recommendations on the adaptation of individual behaviors as well as alerts on pollution peaks aimed at people at risk.
- A platform for aggregating environmental, terrestrial and satellite data, as well as health data, generating air quality maps and spatialized indicators of pollution and health risk.
- Modeling and scenario tools (serious game) for awareness and action by local public and private authorities.
Copernicus data and the TeleCense service are hosted on sobloo , the Airbus and Orange cloud platform. The service offered by the project (platform for aggregating environmental, terrestrial and satellite data, and health data, generating air quality maps and spatialized indicators of pollution and health risk) will also be hosted on sobloo or on the new Copernicus Data Access Service platform.
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