The Urban Air Action Platform, the world's largest air quality data platform, has been launched to achieve healthier and more sustainable cities. Thanks to the collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN-Habitat and IQAir, more than 4.000 real-time air pollution data can be tracked with the contribution of both public and private sectors.
Is air pollution critical?
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 7 million premature deaths are caused every year by air pollution, therefore considering it a major threat both for health and for the ecosystem. Air pollution can be both outdoor (like vehicles, power generation, heating systems, incineration) and indoor (like biomass, coal and kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting). Despite this, most citizens don't have visibility of real-time air quality data. Urban areas that are actively monitoring air pollution expose about 80% of their citizens to air quality levels that exceed the WHO guideline level of 10µg/m3.
What is the Urban Air Action Platform?
The Urban Air Action Platform has been launched at the Tenth World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi with the aim to share information and therefore call to action. The platform has been developed thanks to the collaboration between United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN-Habitat and IQAir. Currently the air quality database reaches over 15 million users and covers more than 7.000 cities worldwide. The primary expectation is to empower people for more informed and conscious decisions: citizens in their daily life, institutions in their policies and businesses in their investments. The platform will boost the access to air quality information balancing the existing inequalities among communities and countries: while Europe, Asia and North America are already equipped with real-time PM2.5 monitoring stations (the fine particulate responsible for most of the air pollution related deaths), many developing countries will be now actively engaged in deploying local monitoring networks.
How does the Urban Action Platform work?
The platform consolidates data from governments, NGOs, companies, communities and citizens. The contribution to the air quality map is open to anyone, thanks to the fact that IQAir is then able to ensure the reliability through its validation and calibration system based on advanced machine-learning algorithms. The information derived from the data are then used as basis to raise awareness, accelerate the debate and boost the pragmatic change of how activities are handled in cities to reach zero pollution vision.