Urban air pollution is one of Georgia’s most pressing public health issues. It shortens the life of urban citizens in Georgia with more than 12 months, and causes more than 40,000 deaths each year throughout urban areas in the post-Soviet space. Besides the many fatal casualties, studies reveal that in Tbilisi air pollution also leads to a heightened number of crippling cardiovascular diseases and a significantly increased number of chronic allergies such as bronchial asthma, dermatitis and others, especially among children between 12 and 19 years of age. Let Georgia Breathe is a campaign to attract attention to this problem. Using 40 air quality sensors, school children are collecting and sharing information on air pollution throughout Georgia to alert the general public of this serious public health risk.
The Let Georgia Breathe campaign monitors two air pollutants that pose a risk to public health: nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). They affect your health in the following ways:Nitrogen dioxide
Breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) increases the risk of respiratory problems. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, and lowers the resistance to respiratory infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis. Frequent exposure to high concentrations can also cause acute respiratory illness in children. Moreover, NO2 has a significant impact on people with asthma as it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Near roads, NO2 concentrations are between 30 and 100% higher. NO2 exposure concentrations near roadways are of particular concern for susceptible individuals, including people with asthma asthmatics, children, and the elderly.Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide reduces oxygen delivery to the body's organs and tissues. The health threat from carbon monoxide is most serious for people suffering from heart disease, as it can lead to a significant reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart. A longer exposure to elevated levels of carbon monoxide can affect healthy individuals as well, as it can cause visual impairment, reduced work capacity, reduced manual dexterity, poor learning ability, and difficulty in performing complex tasks. For more information on the health risks of air pollution, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheet.
The standards shown on the map are derived from this document.
The longest available concentration averaging period is used for the legend; however the sensors report immediate values.
A measurement is rated "good" if it is less than the WHO recommendation, "fair" if it is betwee 100-125% of the WHO Reccommendation, and "poor" if it is above that. The overall rating for a sensor is whichever measurement, CO or NO2, is worse.
The sensors used are air quality eggs; unlike traditional sensors, these are cost effective enough to be used en masse by regular citizens. Viewed as a group they give good results, however individual sensors may report erroneous values.