Founded in 1979, Airparif is a French non-profit organization vested by the Ministry of Environment to monitor air quality, forecast pollution episodes, educate the public on the environment, and assess the effectiveness of air pollution mitigation measures in the Paris metropolitan region.
Integral to Airparif’s mission is reducing Parisians’ exposure to air pollution and raising awareness of the impact air pollution has on human health and quality of life. Airparif’s public programs are designed to educate Parisians about what air pollution is and how it can be measured. Select programs use the AirBeam and the AirCasting platform to empower participants to investigate where and when they are exposed to relatively higher concentrations of air pollutants and consider how they might alter their daily routines to reduce air pollution exposures.
Airparif’s programs are tailored to meet the needs and interests of both adults and youth. Their adult programs recruit residents from central Paris to use low-cost air quality instruments - like the AirBeam - to measure pollution levels in their homes, during their work commutes, and on their holidays. In some instances, Airparif researchers are paired with participants and accompany them during their AirCasting sessions to assist with data interpretation.
Airparif’s high school and middle school programs teach students how to record air quality measurements using the AirBeam + AirCasting platform, interpret the air quality data they collect and develop solutions to improve air quality across Paris. A youth-facing program that Airparif ran from 2017-18 culminated in a student-led symposium at the UNESCO World Heritage Center where participating students shared their experiences and findings.
Guillaume Saliège, a middle school History and Geography teacher who has worked with Airparif to equip his students with AirBeams, was impressed with how personal air quality monitoring inspired his students to develop solutions to clean the air. “Thanks to the sensors, our students have been able to put themselves in the shoes of scientists by taking measurements in the field and by exploiting the data retrieved online. By developing protocols and experimenting with them, they were able to grasp the complexity of the measurement. Their work allowed them to propose concrete solutions to fight against air pollution and to raise the awareness of other high school students about this issue.”
All of these programs are part of Airparif’s AIRLAB initiative, a collaboration between partners from the public and private sector dedicated to evaluating solutions for the future of air quality in the Paris Region and working to promote these solutions at the national and international level. As a complement to their public programming, Airparif’s AIRLAB initiative also organizes the Microsensors Challenge, a competition that evaluates and compares the performance and usability of low-cost air quality instruments.