There’s a big change in the air. For three years, Plume Labs has relied on publicly accessible air quality monitoring stations to build up our database of global air pollution. Using this method, we covered over 430 cities in 65 countries around the world.
Enter the all new Plume Air Report with global coverage. Thanks to the latest update—drawing on new sources like satellite and weather data, historical information, and land use regression models—the number of cities jumps to over 380,000. 💪
This super boost lets us reach whole new countries. Not every city has open access monitoring networks to draw on—in fact, we estimate that fixed point stations cover less than 0.246% of the Earth’s surface.
One prime example is Italy. Prior to this update, the Boot suffered from a big hole in the data. Turin was the only Italian city in the app.
But no more—thanks to the all-new Plume Air Report! We’ve expanded our geographical coverage worldwide to provide forecast for areas that don’t have ground stations.
All the better, as Northern Italy in particular is blighted by bad air. Let’s shine a light on one example. Welcome to Milan, where the city’s 1.3 million residents can now access live and forecast air quality information thanks to the Plume Air Report.
So how’s the air?
Milan suffers from sustained winter pollution peaks due to high levels of particulate matter—tiny particles that come in two different sizes.
First, there’s PM10—particles with a width of less than 10 microns. Prolonged exposure to these particles can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.
Then, there’s the more dangerous PM2.5 with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. These are small enough to penetrate into the bloodstream through the lungs causing serious harm.
Around 70% of smog in the city is emitted by road vehicles, with the rest originating from domestic activity like heating and from heavy industry.
Not only have we added air quality information for every city in Italy, but you’ll also find historical data stretching back for the past six months. Just pinch two fingers together across the timeline on the home screen to switch between scales and zoom back in time.
In the news
Milan has some of the worst air quality in Italy. In 2015, during the winter pollution season, air quality got so poor the city banned cars on its streets for 6 hours a day.
It’s not all bad though—the “design capital of the world” is brimming with innovation. Want proof? Pay a visit to the Bosco Verticale, Milan’s vertical forests cleaning the air in the Porta Nuova Isola district.
There’s also the BikeMi bike sharing program, the first in the world to bolster its fleet of traditional pushbikes with 1,000 shiny new e-bikes. Now you can zip round the city in style while helping beat the smog.