Ling Tan (Umbrellium)
Funded by Vertigo STARTS
What can we do about pollution? It’s such a large issue that we often feel disempowered because it seems like nothing any of us does on our own will have any effect. Pollution Explorers (http://lingql.com/pollution-explorers/) is a participatory project designed for people to act collectively on air quality issues. It harnesses people's subjective perception of their environment and uses wearable technology and machine learning processes to emphasise personal agency and responsibility in tackling complex issues surrounding air pollution. Through the engagement, participants make a statement on the air quality with their own physical actions of recording perceptual data using wearable technology, help to fill in missing ‘gaps’ of air quality data in order to make sense of the quality of air in their neighbourhood and devise collective pledges that they can commit to helping tackle air quality issues in their neighbourhood for a period of time. Pollution Explorers provides a platform for ordinary citizens to voice their opinions and to talk about air quality issues in an expressive and open manner. The core of the project is not the technology but the connections made between people in the neighbourhood who might not have crossed paths before, the decisions made between participants and the legacy created in this participatory process. The project has proven that people’s ability to assess the quality of air compared to the digital sensors is fairly high in some instances and a high percentage of participants have shown dedication in committing to an action to tackle air quality for a period of time in their everyday life.