The CurieuzeNeuzen project is a large-scale citizen science project with the objective to map and quantify the spatial variation in air pollution across the city of Antwerp, Belgium. To this end, simple and cost-effective samplers were deployed at nearly 2000 locations. The NO2 concentration was measured with passive samplers (Palmes diffusion tubes) during 4 weeks in May 2016. At each location, two duplicate samplers were attached to a real-estate panel that was attached to a window pane facing the street. This provided a cost-effective and standardized method of sampling. For data quality control, a similar set-up was deployed at 8 reference monitoring stations located in the study area.
The CurieuzeNeuzen project successfully combined both outreach and scientific data collection. It offered 2000 inhabitants, schools, organizations and companies the chance to measure air quality in their neighbourhood and to be involved in scientific research. At the same time, a high-quality dataset was obtained, which revealed large differences across the city. NO2 concentrations ranged from around 30 µg/m³ within urban greens to over 60 µg/m³ in busy street canyons. Multivariate data analysis identified traffic intensity, street geometry and the distance to the ring road as significant factors explaining spatial variation. A large part of the sampling locations (45±10%) exhibit concentrations that are expected to exceed the WHO yearly limit of 40µg/m³. Overall, the CurieuzeNeuzen project shows how massive, low-cost sampling of air quality with the help of citizens can provide complementary data and insights to traditional monitoring strategies.
On the Dutch website you can already find a more elaborate version of the results (http://ringland.be/academie/curieuzeneuzen/de-resultaten/), but in anticipation of a translation, an overview of the results can also be found in the presentation given at the Monitoring Ambient Air 2016 conference (pdf).