Everyone is responsible for the air: as an interactive map “SOS! Air "and complaints of Russians will help to fight for air quality

Reach people

For the last two years, Greenpeace has been working on a project whose goal is to make the air

our cities are cleaner.Greenpeace is a public organization, which means we solve environmental problems thanks to the support of people. To do this, you need to convince them that some problem is really important and offer a solution to it.

And with solutions, everything is more or less clear: 80–90% of air pollution in large Russian cities is associated with road transport. And there is simply no other way to fix this, except for driving less by cars. But do people still need to somehow move around the city? So you need to develop more environmentally friendly alternatives - public transport, car sharing and cycle infrastructure. The experience of developed countries has already shown that cities should improve in this direction.


But to convince people that it is time to clean the air, notso simple. Pay attention to this problem only when the odors of plants and landfills become completely unbearable, but many substances are harmful to health and in such concentrations that you will not feel with your nose. How to show something that is not visible to the naked eye? Interactive maps turned out to be the best tool.

In August 2017, Greenpeace launched the “ThanIs Moscow breathing?”, which visualizes official data from Mosekomonitoring stations in a clear and convenient form. The Mosekomonitoring website had existed for many years before, but it looked so “old school” that few people used it.

Screenshot of the map "What is Moscow breathing?"

A map of Greenpeace, by contrast, was veryclaimed. With it, Muscovites can not only learn how dirty the air in their area is now, but also see how the concentration of various substances has changed over the past weeks and months. Studying graphics is very interesting. So Greenpeace employees themselves found out that at one of the stations near their office (on Nizhnyaya Maslovka Street) the standard for nitrogen dioxide was exceeded in 97% of all measurements for the month. But the measurements go around the clock, every 20 minutes.

No volunteers

But Moscow is not the only city inRussia, to the inhabitants of which you need to reach. Unfortunately, in other cities there are no such advanced systems for monitoring air pollution, and access to measurement data is a separate problem. Some departments put them on the Internet, but there is no single official resource where people can freely see the results of the monitoring of atmospheric air, published in an accessible form, in full and promptly.

Then Greenpeace decided to create a new map, onwhich would display all objects with which the risk of air pollution may be associated. After all, many people do not even know how many sources of danger are around them, and how close to them they live. One glance at such a card may be enough to open their eyes and push them to action. This card was called “SOS! Air".

The new map consists of four main layers,which can be turned on simultaneously or combined. The first displays plants, landfills, waste incineration plants, CHP plants and other stationary objects with which the risk of air pollution is associated. Information about them is based on the crowdsourcing data of the OpenStreenMap project and is updated based on open data from the websites of government departments, media and other organizations with reference to the source.

Screenshot of SOS! Air"

Information on stationary objects is checked andcomplement the volunteers. Without crowdsourcing, supporting such a project in a country as large as Russia is, of course, unrealistic. And due to the fact that Greenpeace is already helping dozens of people from different regions, the map can gradually develop, more objects will be added to it, information on them will be refined, and errors will be corrected. Greenpeace expects that over time, each object may receive a detailed description, which may include, for example, a list of substances with which it pollutes the air, and the radius of the sanitary protection zone, where residential houses cannot be built.

The second layer is connected with motor transport. Unlike hazardous industries, which are usually located far from residential areas, cars always pollute the air near us - on every street and in every yard. However, how much cars pollute the air depends on the intensity of traffic. The more congestion, the higher the risk that air pollution will exceed the standards. Traffic information on the map “SOS! Air is updated in real time based on the global traffic service provided by Mapbox.

The third layer shows the existinggovernment monitoring posts. Air pollution in Russia is measured by different departments, but they have not yet agreed to create a single portal where information from different sources would be collected. Partly Greenpeace does this work for them, although the measurement data themselves are not displayed on the map - they are presented in different formats from different departments too. But there are links to their official sites where you can see all the information they collect. It can be said that the monitoring station aggregator has turned out.

Greenpeace plans to add popular monitoring systems to the map. The most famous of these independent networks were created by activists from Chelyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk. Now their example is being followed in Moscow.

In touch with everyone

The last layer of the SOS! Air "has become its main chip. It shows the points from which people complain about air pollution. This is a great help for people who, one by one, cannot reach the authorities. All that is required of each individual is to spend a couple of minutes to indicate a point on the map, select the intended source of air pollution and leave your name and email for communication. But if in a certain area there is indeed a serious air pollution problem, there will be many such complaints and it will be difficult for the authorities to ignore them. It turns out that people will unite efforts and achieve results without even speaking with each other.

Of course, creating this mechanism, Greenpeaceinspired by the example of "RosYamy" and "RosZhKH". These projects helped create a huge number of small, but very inspiring success stories. Each complaint will be given the official course, the relevant applications will be sent to the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Rights Control. According to the law, state bodies are obliged to respond to appeals of citizens within the framework of their authority, and it is Rospotrebnadzor that is responsible for the quality of air in residential areas. If someone complains about air pollution, the agency should conduct an inspection. And if the alarm was not false, take action.

In general, Greenpeace came up with not just a map, butwhole service. Global Mapping Hub is responsible for the development and support of such projects. Colleagues from different countries are involved in the development of geographic information systems, but this area of ​​Greenpeace’s work originated and gained strength in Moscow, so we have something to be proud of.

Thanks to satellite data, an organization canto quickly find fires in natural areas by thermal flux, follow the travels of the Greenpeace fleet and evaluate how the planet loses virgin forests. Some people think that eco-activists are some modern Luddites who want to turn off the light all over the world and drive everyone back to the caves. But this is definitely not about us.