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Air Apparent: Mapping Air Pollutants

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Published on Mar 16, 2012

Over 50,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution. Physicist, entrepreneur and father Mark Richards is concerned about the environment and in particular the air pollution that we expose our children to.

He wants people to know just how bad air pollution is so we think more carefully about our lifestyles and travel methods. He has developed a handy machine which can monitor air quality.

Mark Richards on how his air pollution machine can help identify London air and road pollution:

"What if you could see the air in such a way that you could know how much pollution you and your family are exposed to? How would it affect your lifestyle, how you travel, how you live or even where you live? Well, that's what I've developed. A machine that allows you to see the pollution all around you and develop a pollution map. I'm using this clean water to represent clean air, and when I shine a beam of light through the water, it goes through fairly uninhibited. However, if there are air pollutants present, than that air pollutant will absorb some of the light. As a result, the beam gets weaker. I can use this principle to measure the amount of pollution in this water. But air pollution is harder to recognise. If I was to conduct a similar experiment in the air, most air pollutants are not visible - they absorb very little visible light..."

Over 50,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution. Physicist, entrepreneur and father Mark Richards is concerned about the environment and in particular the air pollution that we expose our children to.
He wants people to know just how bad air pollution is so we think more carefully about our lifestyles and travel methods. He has developed a handy machine which can monitor air pollutants by mapping air pollution.
Mark Richards on how his air pollution machine can help identify London air and road pollution:
"What if you could see the air in such a way that you could know how much pollution you and your family are exposed to? How would it affect your lifestyle, how you travel, how you live or even where you live? Well, that's what I've developed. A machine that allows you to see the pollution all around you and develop a pollution map. I'm using this clean water to represent clean air, and when I shine a beam of light through the water, it goes through fairly uninhibited. However, if there are air pollutants present, than that air pollutant will absorb some of the light. As a result, the beam gets weaker. I can use this principle to measure the amount of pollution in this water.
But air pollution is harder to recognise. If I was to conduct a similar experiment in the air, most air pollutants are not visible - they absorb very little visible light..."

The bottom line is if we knew more about air pollution levels we could build a better environment around you.

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