On Monday 22nd February 2016, Channel 4’s Dispatches screened an episode entitled ‘Dirty Secrets: What's Really in Our Air?’ The programme employed the latest air quality monitoring technology, supplied by Air Monitors. “The AQMesh pods were absolutely vital to the journalistic integrity of the programme,” commented Producer Roger Corke. “We were amazed at the level of technology available in such small, lightweight units – without them; it would not have been possible to identify the pollution hotspots that were the main focus of the programme.”
AQMesh pods are small battery-powered air quality monitors that continuously measure key pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone and fine particulates (PM10 and PM2.5). Data is transmitted to the ‘cloud’ and made available on a website so that the Dispatches team could quickly and easily compare, for example, the difference in air quality between a park and a roadside path.
The programme, which was presented by Morland Sanders, highlighted the situations in which people are exposed to high levels of pollution; indoors, outdoors and whilst travelling. To achieve this, AQMesh pods were loaned to a family of four so that they could monitor exposure during normal activities such as jogging, walking to school and even whilst enjoying a family meal. The results were both surprising and alarming. For example, Dr Ben Barratt from King’s College London suggested that drivers caught in a traffic jam should close the vents in their car to avoid pollution from the vehicle in front.
The Dispatches programme can be watched OnDemand at www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/ until 23rd March 2016.