We need your help!
The 2016 Monitoring Season is Underway! Join the BAM Team today!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-549-0900 for more information!
The Bicycle Air Monitoring (BAM) Program allows cyclists to learn more about the air quality in Hamilton by attaching a mobile air monitor and Global Positioning System (GPS) to the handlebars of their bike.
By equipping these two devices to your bike, fine particulate matter can be tracked as you pedal across the city. This will allow for the creation of an online map which will highlight when and where particulate matter – inhalable (PM10) and respirable (PM2.5) – is the highest. This information will allow for cyclists to adjust their routes to avoid adverse health impacts and for Environment Hamilton to investigate why these times and areas have higher rates of PM than others.
Particulate matter is fine dust composed of liquid and/or solid particles that are emitted from smokestacks, vehicle exhaust, or from other chemical and/or physical reactions. Some PM can remain in the air for day to week as a result of wind stirring up dust into the air. These fine particles can be inhaled and coughed up or lodged deeper into the lungs. For more information on particulate matter, please navigate here. For more information on the health impacts, please navigate here.
The project is being modelled closely after the Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) who have developed an interactive map of particulate matter and who have dedicated their time and experience to helping set up the BAM Program with Environment Hamilton.
In 2012, a study conducted by SENES Consultants Limited in collaboration with Clean Air Hamilton and Hamilton Public Health found that "annual deaths due to PM10 and PM2.5 are both between 25 and 40" in Hamilton meaning that up to 80 people pass away each year from avoidable pollution due to PM alone. PM10 and PM2.5 has been linked to a number of respiratory, cardiovascular, and other health impacts causing an increase in hospital visits as well, adding further stress to citizen wellbeing and the health care system as a whole. One of the goals of the BAM Program is to reduce these mortality and morbidity rates by making people aware of when and where fine particulate matter is the highest so that efforts can be made to avoid them.
Although bicycle air monitoring is a new program for Hamilton (and Canada!), vehicular mobile air monitoring in Hamilton has been taking place since 2004 to better understand neighbourhood-level air quality. The first mobile air monitoring study consisted of a partnership between Clean Air Hamilton, the Ministry of the Environment, Environment Canada, Rotek Environmental, and the City of Hamilton who funded the study. The results of this first study can be found here. Between 2010 and 2011, through the efforts of these same organizations and Green Venture, mobile air monitoring was conducted in Dundas, the area near Limeridge Mall, Red Hill neighbourhoods, Delta, Lawrence Ave. to Burlington St, North West End, Wentworth North, McAnulty Blvd, Beach Blvd/Eastport Drive, and Jones Rd/Arvin Ave; all of which showed air pollution impacts. Detailed results for each of these neighbourhood studies, as well as past mobile air monitoring efforts, can be found here and a map of the most recent neighbourhood study can be found here.
In addition to GASP, Environment Hamilton would also like to extend a huge ‘thank you!’ to Councilor Chad Collins of Ward 5 for funding the equipment; Hamilton Public Health for the pilot project operating expenses; and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Canada Summer Jobs Program for their support in developing an internship position.
Whether you are cycling on your daily commute, a recreational trail, or anywhere you and your bike can go, we need your help!
Join the BAM Team today by emailing us at email@example.com or calling 905 549 0900