Cyclists in Antwerp, Belgium have helped to paint a picture of the city’s air quality using personal pollution monitors.
As part of the study, published in the journal, Atmospheric Environment, cyclists were given bicycles equipped with air pollution monitors and asked to use two routes around the city centre between the hours of 7am and 1pm.
The researchers were focused on two specific outdoor air pollutants, ultrafine particles and black carbon, both of which are generated by traffic and can cause a range of health issues, including breathing problems.
They found that the highest levels of pollution were detected during the morning rush hour, and on streets with heavy traffic or tall buildings on either side.
The results also showed that the levels of both ultrafine particles and black carbon could vary significantly within the space of a single street, and that a gap of just a few metres between cycle lanes and cars can lower the levels of ultrafine particles a cyclist is exposed to.
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