How polluted is the air in my town? What can I do to protect my health? What are the main hotspots with plants polluting our air? Residents can now find the answers to these questions from the newly launched web portal CleanAir.org.ua, which unites the efforts to reduce industrial pollution in Ukraine. The main feature of the website is the presentation of the data from EcoCity stations – an expanding network of civic air monitoring stations installed in dozens of towns in the industrial regions of Kryvbas and Donbas. Today, more than 250 stations are sending data to the website every minute.
CleanAir.org.ua is not only the epicentre of data about the current state of the air quality in Ukraine and activities organized by the local civic initiatives. It is a platform offering comprehensive information for all of the proactive residents of Ukrainian cities suffering from air pollution. “The portal provides an opportunity to learn more about how polluted air affects human health and what steps we can take to improve the situation in our cities. It contains scientific publications, research, and analysis,” Maksym Soroka, technical expert of the Clean Air for Ukraine project, explains.
According to the European Society of Cardiology , in Ukraine, polluted air can cause up to 83,960 excess deaths every year. “The first step on the way to saving our health is detailed knowledge of the pollution. Unfortunately, data from governmental monitoring is not publicly available, and in some towns, monitoring is not established at all. We believe that reliable information will help the residents to demand the necessary measures from the responsible state authorities and politicians,” says Pavlina Filippovova, coordinator of the Clean Air for Ukraine project from the Czech non-governmental organization Arnika. The development of the portal was financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the Transition Promotion Programme, and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA).
Efficient monitoring stations
Visitors to the CleanAir portal can find information here about the civic initiatives that fight air pollution in Ukrainian towns such as Kryvyi Rih, Mariupol, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, or Nikopol. Instructions for purchasing a civic air monitoring station and its installation can also be found here. “Our monitoring stations are an affordable solution for people interested in knowing the level of air pollution in their town. The more stations that are installed, the more accurate the information we get will be. The advantage of EcoCity Network stations over other similar systems of citizen science is that they monitor not only particulate matter, but also other substances dangerous to human health, such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, ground-level ozone, and volatile organic compounds,” Soroka adds.
 Its study Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions published in 2019 in the European Heart Journal showed that the Ukrainian excess death rate is over 200 per 100,000 of the population each year: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Air-pollution-causes-800-000-extra-deaths-a-year-in-Europe-and-8-8-million-worldwide