Robust air quality data essential to monitoring pandemic effects

The monitoring of air quality is an important on-going requirement — there are few markets that do not involve the potential for pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere and the detrimental effects of air pollution on the climate, as well as human health and well-being, are well-documented.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has cast a new light on the services provided by AECOM’s Air Quality & Permitting teams, specifically the value that the robust data has in helping government — and the public — monitor and assess the scientific and social effects of the current crisis. In the UK, AECOM has a long-standing role helping to operate the country’s air quality monitoring network, known as the AURN (Automatic Urban & Rural Network) — this role is integral to the quality and consistency of the data collected at many of the monitoring sites.

“Maintaining AURN’s operation — and ensuring the supply of robust air quality data — is regarded by government as essential work in helping to manage the pandemic,” says Technical Director Tom Stenhouse.

The data has the potential to be used to help the government mitigate against the impacts of future outbreaks. Given air pollution’s effect on the respiratory system and the fact that the virus attacks the respiratory system, the data is of great importance — particularly for population groups and individuals most vulnerable to coronavirus.

The monitoring stations also measure the fluctuations in pollution levels resulting from the lockdown and associated decrease in traffic, informing the debate around long-term approaches to reducing carbon emissions, and improving air quality and public health. Furthermore, the data collected by the AURN is communicated rapidly to the public using a wide range of electronic, media and web platforms, such DEFRA’s website and Twitter feed.

More than 30 AECOM employees are currently involved in helping make sure that the UK network continues to run smoothly so that the effects from the pandemic on air quality can be monitored accurately.

AECOM provides Air Quality & Permitting services across Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America.

AECOM can help

The breadth and depth of AECOM’s teams that are distributed across the world, and within your communities, provides you with a partner that can support your community across the timeline described above. Some of the ways in which AECOM can help your community include:

  • Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery planning and strategy development
  • Disaster response program management
  • Access to specialist expertise to support your in-house teams.
  • Communication and outreach
  • Solution design, development and delivery
  • Operational facility re-programming
  • Transportation management to ensure containment during transfer
  • Business continuity consulting
  • Microgrid design and delivery
  • Post-event cleanup and transition consulting

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

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