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Projects gallery 2019-2020 – Climate detectives
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Projects gallery 2019-2020


Climate Detectives Projects 2019-2020

Project topic: Air pollution

Project title: The air we breathe


2019-2020   3rd Laboratory Center Of East Attica (Rafina)   RAFINA   Greece   10 Student’s age: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15

Summary of the project

In the area we live we have to face two major pollutants. The biggest and busiest airport in Greece and the port of Rafina which is the second busiest port of Athens. In order to measure the air quality of the air we breathe we investigated the concentration of nitrogen dioxide which causes significant health issues. Also, we took measurements of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and humidity. We created our monitoring air quality station using Arduino and special low cost sensors that measures particulate matter, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia NH3, temperature and humidity. Because of the limited budget we created four air quality monitor stations based exclusively on Arduino UNO WiFi Rev2. These stations were placed in critical points: near the port of Rafina, near the main highway and near the airport. The measurements are sent in real time, via WiFi, in the Server using the HTTP protocol. Using the web page, we created for our project, you can see the latest measurements and basic statistical data (min, max, average). The user can choose the number of latest measurements willing to see and copy the whole dataset from the bottom of the page, that appears in a table, to do research work. Also, we developed a simple Android App, using the education programming environment App Inventor that students are taught in school, which display the latest measurement of each place. CO2 are top contributor to global warming. Emissions of CO, nitrogen oxides, aerosols, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and NH3 all affect the chemistry of tropospheric ozone and methane. Analytical instructions for the development of our low cost Arduino based station will be uploaded to our web site in order for other schools to assemble and configure it.

Main results

With the data we’ve gathered so far, things are not as worrying as they seem. Our measurements do not show high concentrations, above the allowable limits, for the gaseous pollutants we measured. As for the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, which is very dangerous to our health, our findings are confirmed by satellite images of the European Space Agency (ESA) that we studied using the EO Browser tool (https: //apps.sentinel We believe that in order to draw safe conclusions, we need to record data for a whole year, because for example the traffic in the port of Rafina at this time is not increased. We also need to work with official bodies, such as the Athens National Observatory (, which has reliable measuring instruments to assess the reliability of our station’s measurements. We are in constant communication with the National Observatory of Athens on this issue.

Actions to help lessen the problem

Limiting the impact at highways: 1) Use Public Transportation 2) Use your vehicle a lot less often 3) Buy Energy Efficient Vehicles 4) Join an Environmental Group. Limiting the impact at ports: 1) Switching to low sulfur fuels is one of the easiest measures to reduce ship pollution 2) Using scrubbers can cut emissions of SO2 by 99% and considerably reduce emissions of other polluting particles 3) Internal engine modifications aim to reduce NOx production during the combustion process. 4)SCR is an active emissions management system used to treat exhaust gasses after formation but prior to discharge into the atmosphere. 5)Use of lower sulfur alternative fuels in auxiliary engines, electrification with use of a shore-based power supply, and shore-based emission treatment 6)Shore-side power (known as cold ironing) is delivered by plugging the ship in to a land based electric supply. Limiting the impact at airports: 1)Aircraft emissions are reduced further when airports provide fixed electrical ground power and pre-conditioned air supplies at the terminal gates 2) Other sources of emissions that affect local air quality around airports include power plants, ground service equipment and vehicles. Mitigation measures should be taken by airports and their partners include modernising power plants, ground equipment and vehicle fleets. Diesel and petrol vehicles should be replaced at many airports with those using alternative fuels such as liquid petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, electricity and even compressed air! Airports should work with local road and transit authorities to help develop roads and public transport including rail, trams and buses 3) The aircraft and engine manufacturers should introduce further targets to reduce aircraft emissions.

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