Hong Kong scientists are developing a mobile app that will provide users with more information about air quality. It will help them map out their own routes to avoid heavily polluted areas.
The app will give residents the ability to predict air quality at specific locations. The scientist behind the project said the detailed information will enable people to make better decisions about limiting their exposure to harmful air pollution.
“The aim is to show people what they should be most concerned about,” said Professor Alexis Lau Kai-hon of the University of Science and Technology, project coordinator of the “Personalised Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong”.
The app will be a world first. Lau said such precise information was lacking in most air pollution indices, including Hong Kong’s own air quality health index, which he helped develop.
Hourly measurements of air pollutants such as particulates, nitrogen dioxide and ozone will be analysed and the data plugged into a system. The first phase of the app is expected to launch next year and will be able to forecast air quality down to street level up to 72 hours in advance.
Clean Air Network officer Winnie Tse Wing-lam told Young Post that the app would be useful.
“The Environmental Protection Department’s air quality index is not comprehensive,” she said. “With only three roadside stations, people don’t have enough information to understand how harmful the air can be if they are close to the roads. The app is beneficial to all Hongkongers.”
However, 18-year-old cross-country runner Chui Tin-chi from Diocesan Boys’ School said he would not use the app as the EPD’s data was good enough.