Air quality ‘mssge’ direct to your mobile

A text service sending air quality information to Londoners suffering from illnesses such as asthma, emphysema, and heart disease launched in the capital on Thursday.

airTEXT works by sending alerts and health advice to those people who are most likely to be affected on days when air pollution is elevated in their area.

Advance warning of higher pollution levels allows individuals to take precautionary measures such as remaining indoors, avoiding excessive exercise or carrying their reliever medication with them.

Under the scheme, people can sign up to receive local air pollution alerts by mobile phone text message, voicemail or email.

Separate forecasts are generated for each London borough and the text service allows users to choose whether they prefer to receive the warning on the evening before or the morning of a predicted high air pollution day.

Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants’ atmospheric scientist Dr Iarla Kilbane-Dawe said: “This represents a revolution in air pollution forecasting with localised information being sent directly to the individual allowing them to avoid exposure to air pollution and take other action like carrying any medication they need.”

A pilot scheme, the first of its kind in the world, has operated in Croydon since July 2005 and has received a positive response. 80 % of users responding to the Croydon survey stated that airTEXT helped them manage their symptoms better and reduce their exposure to air pollution.

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Dana Gornitzki

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