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Collective Awareness Platform for Tropospheric Ozone Pollution

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CAPTOR (Collective Awareness Platform for Tropospheric Ozone Pollution)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-06-30

Air pollution is the environmental topic that European citizens worry about most. It is responsible for 400.00 premature deaths in Europe each year, damages agricultural crops and forests, and its effects result in actual losses for the European economy -estimated costs for Europe between €59 and €189 billion in 2012 -, threating human well-being and natural systems that sustain our prosperity. CAPTOR address the general air pollution problem, which will be depicted by monitoring specifically the tropospheric ozone.

Current top-down efforts have obviously increased awareness among citizens about the dangers of polluted air, but despite all this efforts real affection and behavioural change, taking ownership and responsibility, cannot be found on large scale. Europeans are worried about the general state of the environment but their readiness to take action themselves when it comes to tackling environmental challenges is limited. Moreover, decision makers are often reluctant to put the necessary emphasis on the dangers involved with high air pollution levels, because the primary source - that could be quite easily reduced - is the individual traffic. Reducing the individual traffic is known to be a very difficult political task and is not at all popular with the voters.

Captor proposes a bottom-up approach to demonstrate the power of Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPs) to foster collaboration of local communities, citizens, NGOs, and scientists to raise awareness and find solutions to the air pollution problem. The combination of citizen science, collaborative networks and environmental grassroots social activism will drive the whole process and will have a high potential impact on other fields such as education, social innovation, science, environment, politics and industry (see figure 1). Captor will establish a monitoring network made of low-cost sensors to measure ozone pollution in affected areas and to use collaborative learning tools to stimulate collaborative solution finding.

Captor's concrete objectives are:
• To engage a network of local communities in three citizen science instantiations for monitoring a specific air pollutant - tropospheric ozone.
• To engage these local communities in a collaborative learning process about air pollution, supporting a bottom-up process of defining and designing measures for action. This will demonstrate the effectiveness of a model of social innovation strategy based on a CAP to leverage the collective intelligence of existing networks of local communities.
• To empower citizens and engage them in promoting behavioural changes and active participation in decision making to drive solutions. The project will stimulate discussion of local communities involved in the project with different stakeholders – energy and transport industries, local administrations, scientists, academia and innovators - to promote best practices and advocate plans to control and reduce air pollution.
• To learn and to assess the effectiveness, replicability and creative power of the approach. The project will provide evidence of its impact and derive lessons learned for similar initiatives.
WP1. Establishment of the general management structure. Nomination of the Advisory and Citizen Science boards. A quality assurance process and plans for innovation management, RRI compliance and risk management have been established. Proactive communication with other projects has been carried out.

WP2. Development of all the required IT tools. The nodes have been designed and tested. 30 captor nodes have been used in the first campaign (summer 2016, Spain). The software tool for ozone concentration estimation has been developed and tested, the Open Linked data repository is operational, and the Mobile App, the Collaborative learning platform and the website of Captor, have been completed and ready to use.

WP3. Criteria for selecting the placement of nodes in order to have representative results regarding ozone concentrations have been established. 30 captors were already built, tested and used during a first campaign in summer 2016. The nodes have been tested using 9 reference stations in Spain, Italy and Austria. A number of tools for assessing the accuracy of the obtained measures and for an early identification of nodes with low performance were also developed.

WP4. Establishment of an engagement and monitoring strategy. Volunteers have participated in the design of the IT tools, and have tested their functionalities. During the 2016 summer campaign, more than 80 persons participated as volunteers. 20 of them hosted the monitor nodes and helped in their management.

WP5. During the campaign of summer 2016, first data related with the impact of the Captor citizen science approach were collected.

WP6. Establishment of a communication and dissemination strategic plan. Website content has been translated into 5 languages (English, Spanish, Catalan, Italian and German). A considerable attention in the press, radio and TV, twitter and youtube has been attracted. The project has been also very active in addressing politic authorities at several levels.

WP7. The exploitation and sustainability model has been created.
"Technological and scientific results of the project:
• We expect to obtain interesting results on the assessment of low-cost sensing technologies for citizen science projects.
• We expect to perform a very complete study about the differences between the MOX and electrochemical technologies regarding accuracy, stability, drift, aging, etc.
• We expect interesting results on the citizen science methodology (e.g. calibration and data quality assurance procedures, node placement procedures, etc).
• The collected data in the project will also give very valuable results regarding the ozone creation and accumulation in the studied areas.
• We also expect an assessment of its impact of Citizen Science and the use of Collaborative Awareness Platforms on awareness raising.
• We expect that some of the technological advances in the project regarding low-cost sensing technology could lead to the creation of a spin-off.

Socio-economic aspects:
• We expect that the participation of the dense network of local organizations will have a strong impact at several levels. For instance, local organizations that are part of our network of allies (Ecologistes en Acció, Grup de Defensa del Ter, Coordinadora per a la Salvaguarda del Montseny and Plataforma per la Qualitat de l'Aire),
• have participated in governmental advisory committees that deal with pollution in Catalonia discussing possible solutions,
• have presented an European complaint against the Spanish state for neglecting ozone-affected areas,
• and have participated in the debate with Members of European Parliament on the new national emission ceilings Directive (NEC) organized in Barcelona.

We launched #ChangeAirPollution and the campaign MenysCotxesMesSalut.org to ask for implementation of traffic restriction measures in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. We contributed to the fact that for the first time, the Catalan Government organized an event to report on the official 2016 ozone campaign and also for the first time such government sent out a survey to assess citizen’s satisfaction with air quality.
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Captor node 2
Captor combines citizen science, collaborative networks and environmental grassroots social activism
Captor node 1
The Captor collective awareness platform infraestructure
The Captor consortium members