Air pollution is a major environmental and health concern in Hong Kong, yet many of us accept it as part of city living and believe that there is not much we, as members of the general public, can do about it. This is not true, and a game-changing new tool is about to change this mind-set.
Mobile app to put real-time air quality information in the palm of your hand
The scientists from the Institute for the Environment at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) are developing an innovative mobile app to help us manage and reduce our individual exposure to air pollutants. The interactive app is powered by the Personalised Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong (PRAISE-HK), an advanced new system that we are building. The PRAISE-HK system combines state-of-the-art sensor technologies, big data, air quality modelling systems, and exposure science to effectively analyse and forecast the air quality in Hong Kong down to the street level. With the PRAISE-HK mobile app, you will gain convenient access to real-time, location specific air pollution information about your neighbourhoods and surroundings.
Personalised to help you make healthier day-to-day choices
But that’s not all. The PRAISE-HK app will be personalised based on your health and daily activities, helping you make informed decisions about your daily routines. Just some of the things the PRAISE-HK app can do:
- Personalised assessment: The PRAISE-HK app can identify air pollutants to which you are most sensitive, helping you create your personal pollution risk profile.
- Recommendation of cleaner routes: Pollution concentration varies with location and time of day. The PRAISE-HK app reveals when and where the pollution occurs, and recommends cleaner routes with reduced exposure risks.
- Personalised alerts: The PRAISE-HK app can send you customised alerts, for example, notifying you if you are about to enter an area dense with specific pollutants that affect you most.
- Air Quality Forecasts: The PRAISE-HK app is able to forecast air pollution levels up to 3 days, so you can plan ahead and schedule activities during low-risk times.
In short, the PRAISE-HK app can help guide practical decisions like where to go, and what to do, to limit exposure to pollutants that affect your health.
Transparent, useful air quality answers at the touch of a button
The PRAISE-HK app is designed to help you find answers to your top air quality-related health concerns. Here are just a few key questions that the app can address:
- Among the different kinds of toxic air pollutants, which ones are you sensitive to, and where are you being exposed to them?
- Where do you get the largest dose of air pollution each day – at home, in the office, at school, on the street or on public transport?
- Is it really helpful for your kids to stay indoors when the air quality is bad outside?
- What is the difference in your pollution exposure among different commuting routes?
- Which streets around your home and office are the least polluted? The most?
- What is the most effective way of reducing your overall exposure?
- How does outdoor air pollution affect indoor air quality?
PRAISE-HK in 3 Phases
Phase 1 (2019)
PRAISE-HK App profiles high-resolution outdoor air quality map down to street-level
To provide location specific air quality forecasts
Users will be able to zoom in on a map and access real-time and forecasted information on outdoor air quality and the associated health risks on a street-by-street level. This valuable insight can assist users in making informed decisions when planning their daily activities.
Phase 2 (2021)
PRAISE-HK-EXP provides personal air pollution exposure tracking both outdoor and indoor including commuting
To evaluate how much pollutant an individual is getting from its daily activity
This upgrade features readings from selected indoor environments, including high-rise and underground levels. Additionally, it has the capability to calculate users' total pollutant exposure based on their travel history. This health-risk assessment empowers users to identify air pollution hotspots, compare total exposure between different routes, and plan future itineraries accordingly.
Phase 3 (2023)
To generate personalised air quality health impact alert for sensitive subgroups
With sufficient data in the system, users will have access to personalised alerts and recommendations tailored specifically to their individual health condition.