New app allows citizens to avoid air pollution in Sarajevo

A new app that has been launched in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to help raise awareness on air quality. 

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched the ‘Sarajevo app’ using technologies from Air Quality London, which is run by the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London.

The app allows users to type in their start and end destination anywhere in the city and then it will generate two or three alternative routes with a clear indication of which route exposes the user to the lowest level of pollution.

It’s hoped the app could be replicated in other cities across Europe if it’s a success in Sarajevo.

Andrew Grieve, senior air quality analyst at King’s College said: ‘People may have always suspected that there are roads that are more polluted than others. We are now making the invisible visible.’

Sarajevo was selected for this project because of its poor air quality.

Major sources of pollution in Sarajevo come from the use of firewood and coal fuel for residential heating in wintertime, an ageing fleet of high-emission vehicles, traffic congestion and industrial plants.

Sarajevo is enclosed by mountains, meaning that the city is prone to heavy fog that becomes smog when it is mixed with pollution.

Because of weak winds, this smog can stay in the city for a long time, causing peaks in PM concentration, exposing citizens to significant health risks.

Mathew Billot, senior coordinator officer in the Science Division of UNEP’s Europe Office said: ‘The app could definitely be replicated and implemented in other major cities where air quality is an issue.’

‘Many cities already have apps that show air quality. The difference is that this is a route selection application, based on air quality, taking things a step further.’

‘Rather than just showing the air quality in your area, it allows you to choose the least polluted route from A to B.’

In related news, geme.io, a geo-location app that provides a range of information in a town or city now offers real-time air quality information.

Photo Credit – Pixabay.