Plume Labs and DigitasLBi launch Pigeon Air Patrol, London’s first ever flock of pollution-monitoring pigeons

London , United Kingdom

Pigeons wearing pollution-monitoring devices will report back via Twitter 

Plume Labs, a technology company that helps consumers track and reduce their exposure to air pollution, is to launch the first ever flock of pollution-monitoring pigeons across London. The initiative was created in partnership with global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi with support from industry partners Twitter and aims to raise awareness of air pollution.

Over the course of three days, Plume Labs and DigitasLBi are releasing ten pigeons wearing small pollution-monitoring backpacks. Lightweight pollution sensors, created by Plume Labs, are stitched onto small fabric vests which fit comfortably on the pigeons and measure levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone, the main gases behind harmful urban air pollution.

The Pigeon Air Patrol will monitor air quality in the capital and report back via Twitter. Londoners can tweet their location to the handle @PigeonAir to receive an instant response from one of the pigeons (named Coco, Julius and Norbert), telling them about the level of pollution in their area.

Recipients are also invited to visit the campaign microsite, where they can view a live map of the pigeons’ flights, learn about air pollution and its health risks, find out more about the pigeons and download the Plume Air mobile app.

The campaign encourages Londoners to join the Air Patrol, by becoming beta testers for a wearable version of Plume Labs’ air pollution measuring device.

Pigeon Air Patrol will be supported by Promoted Tweets as well as outreach activity to relevant influencers on Twitter.

Plume Labs is a European technology company that helps consumers control their exposure to air pollution to improve their health and well-being. In September 2015, they announced the launch of the Plume Air Report, a free mobile application for iPhone and Android that helps consumers beat air pollution by predicting live pollutant levels in major cities around the world.

The Plume Air Report application is an urban weather report that provides its users with timely, accurate, and actionable information on live and predictive air pollution levels in their city, helping make the air we breathe more transparent.

Romain Lacombe, CEO at Plume Labs, said: “Air pollution is a huge environmental health issue, killing nearly 10,000 people every year in London alone. Putting air sensors on the back of pigeons goes beyond raising awareness of this problem and helps Londoners understand the impact of pollution in an accessible, tangible and immediate way. DigitasLBi is also helping us to recruit beta testers who will be the first to access our devices, to build a collaborative, human-powered air quality monitoring network across London.”

Pierre Duquesnoy, Creative Director at DigitasLBi, added: “Air pollution isn’t sexy and people don’t engage with it. So the heart of our idea was to make air pollution more accessible and relevant to people. The Pigeon Air Patrol is a perfect example of how data combined with creative storytelling can raise awareness of a serious health and environmental issue.”

Helen Lawrence, Head of Creative Agency Development at Twitter, added: "Twitter brings you closer to what matters to you the most, in real time. Over the last 10 years Twitter has been used in ways that we would never have imagined - rivers that Tweet when the water level rises, sharks that Tweet when they're swimming near shore and now pigeons that Tweet live pollution information. Real time information, direct to your mobile is hugely useful, but add pigeons into that mix and you've got something really powerful."

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