Since end 2013 the AiREAS cooperative in Eindhoven could use its self designed network of Airboxen to start interpretation of real time, calibrated, fine mazed data, modulated to give a view of air pollution and its possible causes. The objective of AiREAS is to multidisciplinairy co-create a healthy city. Measurement and interpretation of data is not a goal but a means to stimulate innovation for sustainable human progress.

AiREAS is not a seperate institution but a cocreation platform with local citizens, local government, scientists and business development working together. AiREAS has no resources of its own (no money, buildings, personnel) and creates values that can be expanded worldwide. An AiREAS can be started anywhere where local key players are willing to commit to the higher purpose and work together.

Ultra Fine Dust newyears even
AIREAS partner Scapeler started already on 11:40 am twittering the situation in town from our open data platform.


Then every hour a new status was pictured and made public. In Holland a new rule only allowed firing Fireworks from 18:00 onwards.


The enthousiastic population did not waste time and started spot on the allowed time. The evening was clear, no wind and with high humidity levels (99%) which had caused some alarming warnings about possible smog forming.

At midnight the peak occurred:


Scapeler was concentrating on the levels of PM 1, 2.5 and 10. I was curiose about the development of the most dangerous pollution of all: Ultra Fine Particals (UFP). Due to the special techniques to measure such extreme small particles we could only afford to install 5 specialized addons. They count the particles up to a maximum of 250.000 per cm3.


In the image we see that after 18:00 the average ultra fin dust level multiplied rapidly by 5 (from average 20K particles per cm3 to 100K) maintaining the level for a staggering 9 continuous hours. During midnight the peak went up for 2 hours to ABOVE our measurable limits of 250K. The participants on the streets were exposed but also people who witness the show and all people at home with their illnesses and complaints.

Another image shows the enormous scale level of pollution during that particular night. Considering that there is no bottom limit, except the absence of pollution, any level is unacceptable. Imaging the new year peak, with no other purpose than fun for some and political economic interests, shows such a huge contrast that the “normal” pollution nearly looks negligable.

The problem is also that this pollution concentrates in the areas of residence where exposure is continuous, also when asleep, making people even more vulnerable than normal. The highest and longest peak of UFP was in the middle of a densely populated city quarter.

A final pictures shows all polluting sizes. If you want to compair please note the scales against which the peak is plotted.

Together with our partner STIR Academy with the City of Tomorrow (STIR Foundation) we start a set of encounters to put the sustainable viability of our traditions and how we can use innovative processes to either enhance them or change them with awareness and knowledge?

During the next AiREAS partner meeting we will agenda the issue and try to come to a combined initiative between policy and citizen’s involvement around change.