Pigeons fitted with backpacks to monitor air pollution are flying above London and taking readings of the air so folks across the pond know where to avoid this pollution on a daily basis. There are 10 racing pigeons in all that have started their new careers as air-pollution seekers.
The Raw Story reports on March 15, that this group of pigeons make a pollution-seeking brigade and they were launched under the name of the Pigeon Air Patrol Campaign by a French technology firm. The firm will fly the pigeons over London in this campaign from March 14 to March 16 in the skies above London. This entails citizens of London to tweet their location to the pigeons and they will get back a message that states the level of pollution for that area.
A message such as, “Moderate pollution in your area. Stay safe,” is one of the many messages folks see when tweeting their location for an air pollution reading. Plume Labs have deployed the pigeons over London to draw attention to the air pollution. The pollution in the air is killing nearly 10,000 a year in London alone, making pollution a “huge environment health issue,” said Romain Lacombe, the chief executive of the Plume Labs.
Lacombe also said, “Putting air sensors on the back of pigeons goes beyond raising awareness of this problem and helps Londoners understand the impact of pollution in an accessible, tangible and immediate way.” The pigeons went to work on Tuesday for the first time over London and people were appreciative of this campaign, as seen across the social media sites. On Tuesday and Wednesday the pigeons sent back data indicating high pollution levels in Westminster, moderate pollution in Victoria Park and “fresh air” in Soho. If you were going for a run, you might pick Soho as the location in light of this information.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that “Engineers at technology company Plume Labs trained 10 racing pigeons to wear tiny, specially designed backpacks full of equipment for measuring nitrogen dioxide and ozone. They are carefully attended by a veterinarian and trained to fly at strategic heights over London during rush hour. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tweet results of the air tests upon request.” It is good to hear that the pigeons are well cared for as they work at informing those folks below them about the air they are breathing at any given time!
The folks on social media were thrilled with this campaign and folks from the U.S. put this on their wish list for the nation’s cities. Pierre Duquesnoy, who is the creative director for DigitasLBi, worked closely with Plume Labs on this campaign said: “Air pollution isn’t sexy and people don’t engage with it. So the heart of our idea was to make air pollution more accessible and relevant to people. He also said: “The Pigeon Air Patrol is a perfect example of how data combined with creative storytelling can raise awareness of a serious health and environmental issue.” That it did, this pigeon air pollution brigade has made headlines not only in the U.K., but across the pond in the U.S. as well.