It may be a publicity stunt, but London needs more eyes on its dire air quality
Pigeons in tiny backpacks are measuring air pollution in London, which is so bad that it is blamed for 9,500 premature deaths a year. MUST CREDIT: DigitasLBI.,
16 of March 2016 16:23:26
KAREN BRULLIARDTHE WASHINGTON POSTAir pollution caused by diesel vehicles in London is bad — so bad that it is blamed for 9,500 premature deaths a year and has prompted Britain's Supreme Court to order the government to make a plan for cleaning up the skies.Now what is commonly seen as another scourge of the city, the pigeon, is helping in the fight against smog. On Monday, 10 birds outfitted in miniature backpacks carrying pollution sensors and GPS trackers took to the air, and they started tweeting - via beak, perhaps, but definitely via Twitter — their devices' readings of nitrogen dioxide and ozone. Londoners who tweet at the Pigeon Air Patrol's Twitter handle, @PigeonAir, are getting responses from the birds about air pollution in their area, and a live map of the pigeons' location can be viewed online.
There's something about taking what is seen as a flying rat and reversing that into something quite positive."-Pierre Duquesnoy. Marketing agency DigitasLBI creative directorPlume Labs, the tech firm, gave assurance that a veterinarian was involved in the project to ensure the safety of the pigeons, whose names include Coco, Julius and Norbert.The London pigeons are not the first birds to don backpacks for an environmental cause. Vultures in Lima, Peru, have been adorned with GPS trackers and GoPro cameras to hunt down illegal garbage dumping sites.