“AirTEXT” is a free service aimed at those who have been diagnosed with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease or angina as well as for those who live or work in London. The satellite-supported service has operated in the Borough of Croydon, the largest borough by population, and has received a positive response with 80 percent of users saying it has helped them manage their symptoms better and reduce their exposure to air pollution.

Subscribers can choose whether they want alerts delivered through SMS text messages, voicemail or e-mail and whether they want to receive the alerts the morning of days when air pollution is likely to be higher than normal or the evening before. Forecasts are generated for each London borough.

Messages will indicate moderate, high or very high levels of pollution are expected, what effects are likely to be noticed, such as wheezing, difficulty in breathing or chest pains. The system also proposes what should be done to minimise the effects, such as avoiding long periods outdoors, avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and increasing the dose of reliever medication as directed by a physician.

The airTEXT service works by combining satellite data from “Envisat” of the European Space Agency (ESA) with information on local road traffic patterns and monitoring stations around the city. Regional air quality information is important because not all the pollution affecting a city actually originates there. Depending on the weather, studies show that up to half the air pollution found in some European cities might have come from elsewhere in the continent.

MEDICA.de; Source: European Space Agency (ESA)