There’s a new flying weapon in the fight against air pollution.

Not drones .

Or satellites .

But pigeons. Pigeons with itty-bittybackpacks .

These winged heroes are part of the Pigeon Air Patrol.

Pigeon Air Patrol is an alliance between tech company Plume Labs and marketing and technology agencyDigitasLBi. For three days in March, they’re releasing 10 racingpigeons outfitted with teeny-tiny knapsacks intoLondonto monitor air quality.

The knapsacks, which are actually little fabric vests, have ultra-lightweight sensors sewn into the cloth. The sensors monitornitrogen dioxide( NO2) and ozone levels.

“The knapsacks were specifically designed…to fit the birds in the most comfortable way so as not to impede flight, ” Romain Lacombe, CEO of Plume Labs, told Upworthy. “The 3D-printed casings were specifically designed by Plume Labs to reduce drag and protect the sensors during flight while keeping air flow optimal.”

As the birds fly throughout the city, Londoners can tweet to @PigeonAir to get up-to-the minute information on the air quality in their neighborhood.

While this solution to monitoring air quality is absolutely adorable, air pollution is a serious issue.

Exposure to pollutants like NO2and small particulates called PM2. 5scan irritate the eyes and throat andcanexacerbate or lead torespiratory conditions, especially inkids, theelderly, andpeople with asthma or heart conditions.

In London alone, up to nearly 9,500 people die every yearas a result of long-term exposure to toxic air.While many of the PM2. 5 particulates come from outside city limits, the NO2 in the air is often caused byemissions from diesel vehicles and other local sources.

“For every person who dies early from air pollution, many more are attain seriously ill, have to visit hospital or take time off work, “Alan Andrews, alawyer for the nonprofit ClientEarth, told The Guardian .

Around the world, this is a life-threatening and and costly problem .

While the Pigeon Air Patrol will only be in the skies for three days, Plume Labs is looking for humen to join the ranks.( No flying necessitated .)

The labseeks dozens of Londoners( suppose cyclists, mothers pushing strollers, athletes, and more) to test their wearablepersonal air quality sensors subsequently this year.

“The human-worn version of these sensors will be deployed in London during the course of a beta test with 100 Londoners, who will collaborate with Plume and researchers at Imperial College to map pollution around London, ” Lacombesaid.

These personal monitors can help researchers further understand air qualityin much greater detail and allow them to zero in on pollution hotspots right away.

Air pollution is a global problem, but creative ideas and wild experiments are our very best chance of solving it.

This project is proof that when it comes to saving livesand protecting the health of individuals and familiesaround the world , no notion is too crazy.

It’stime to get creative. It’s time to get pro-active. It’s time to let our ideas( and our birds with knapsacks) take flight.

Read more: www.upworthy.com

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