NYC sensor program to monitor neighborhood air pollution

New York City is implementing a pilot program to monitor air pollution in selected neighborhoods, starting with the South Bronx.
New York City is implementing a pilot program to monitor air pollution in selected neighborhoods, starting with the South Bronx. (Pixabay)

New York City officials have announced a pilot program that will equip five city fleet vehicles in the South Bronx with air-quality sensors to better understand how pollution varies by neighborhood, according to an article on the site statescoop.com.

Called CityScanner, the project will reportedly add data on top of that already supplied by the New York City Community Air Survey, a network of 150 air-quality sensors installed on utility poles and structures throughout the city to measure levels of fine particles, nitrogen oxides, elemental carbon, sulfur dioxide and ozone.

CityScanner will use solar-powered sensors developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab, an urban design and research facility, to “identify problem areas, determine causes of poor air quality, and make policy decisions to improve air quality,” according to the announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo and Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer.

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According to the article quoting a 2013 analysis by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fine particle pollution causes approximately 2,000 deaths, 1,500 hospital admissions for lung and heart conditions, and 5,000 emergency department admissions in the city annually.

The pilot is slated to start immediately and last four weeks, with the possibility that sensors could be installed on additional fleet vehicles, according to the city.