Pigeons v Pollution

Here’s more news from London, where things are warming up, and where pollution levels will surely rise in the heady heat of those halcyon summer days. But, how best to monitor this phenomenon? Dogs with briefcases? Rats with duffel bags? No – it’s pigeons with backpacks.

Seriously:

Pigeons wearing backpacks with air quality sensors are now flying around London.

Half a dozen racing pigeons have been released into the capital with GPS devices and a 35g sensor to measure levels of nitrogen dioxide being produced in the city. The pigeons took off from their Brick Lane base on Monday.

I’m unsure as to the benefits of the pigeon-based system rather than the more traditional ground-based sensors, but hey – pigeons with backpacks!

The birds are then, using the power of the internet, tweeting those who ask for a reading.

Coo! It works – I tried it:

Fullscreen capture 2016-03-15 125441 PM.bmp

The pigeon people suggest that close opn 10,000 people die each year as a result of air pollution in London. Ironically, they refer to Asthma UK as “their friends”, although pigeons aren’t exactly the best pets to keep if you have pulmonary problems.

Still, just six backpack-wearing birds spread across ‘The Big Smoke’ can’t make you cough too much, right?