Throughout the BiSC study, we have been measuring our volunteers ’individual exposure to the air pollutants they breathe. This has been possible thanks to the use of an individual backpack that the volunteers have been carrying, which carries a series of devices that measure the different components of air pollution.
Now, the BiSC project will also launch the BISCAPE campaign, a campaign aimed at building a map of pollution levels in the metropolitan area of Barcelona throughout the year 2021. This map will be based on data obtained from measures simultaneous levels of pollution in different parts of the city and will be repeated in different seasons of the year, to observe the temporary fluctuations of different pollutants. The measuring points include both public centers and private volunteers who have made their balconies available so that they can install the necessary equipment.
The map will be obtained through a LUR (Land Use Regression) modeling process, which allows obtaining the pollution levels of an extensive region from specific measurements within this area, and which takes into account the influence of the characteristics of the environment to predict the dispersion of different pollutants. The pollutants measured will be the same as those measured with the backpacks:
- PM2.5: these are particles suspended in the air smaller than 2.5µm in diameter and therefore cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, they are particles that, due to their size, have a great capacity for penetration into the body.
- Black carbon: is another component of airborne particulate matter that is formed by incomplete combustion processes. It is one of the contributing elements to climate change and also has a high capacity for penetration into the body.
- NO2: this is a gas that is also created in the combustion of vehicles and has an irritating effect on the respiratory tract. In contact with moisture, it generates acidic products.
The first BISCAPE campaign will begin in February, and the measures will be extended to almost the entire 2021. Once the measures have been obtained, the information can be processed to create the pollution map of the city and its surroundings, which will validate the measurements carried out throughout the BiSC study.
Thanks to all the volunteers who made this campaign possible!
The text has been written by Laura Gómez, a predoctoral researcher for BiSC project.