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Clean Air Day 2024: Atmo’s Commitment to Cleaner Air and Healthier Communities

Updated: Jun 24

Today, on Clean Air Day 2024, we join millions across the UK in raising awareness about the crucial issue of air pollution and its impact on our health and environment. At Atmo Technology, we are dedicated to monitoring and improving air quality, working towards creating healthier communities for everyone.


If 50% of short journeys in towns and cities were walked or cycled, we could save enough carbon to power every home in Bristol with electricity.

The Importance of Clean Air


Cars and vans are significant contributors to air pollution, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Air pollution is a significant health issue in the UK, contributing to a substantial number of premature deaths each year. According to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), around 40,000 deaths annually in the UK are attributed to outdoor air pollution. This includes deaths from heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

These figures underscore the urgent need for effective measures to reduce air pollution and protect public health in the UK.



Posters from CleanAirDay.org.uk
Posters from CleanAirDay.org.uk

Small Changes, Big Impacts


On this Clean Air Day, we encourage everyone to consider making small changes that can have a significant impact on air quality:

  • Walk or cycle: If 50% of short journeys in towns and cities were walked or cycled, we could save enough carbon to power every home in Bristol with electricity.

  • Use public transport: Taking the train produces nearly 80% less carbon emissions than driving.

  • Advocate for cleaner air initiatives: Support policies and initiatives that promote cleaner air in your community.



Bristol's harbourside in the city centre
Bristol's harbourside in the city centre

Our Work with the NHS in Bristol


Since 2021, Atmo has been working with the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust to monitor and improve air quality around their Bristol city centre hospitals. Here’s a look at our journey and accomplishments so far.


In September 2021, Atmo initiated a project to measure real-time emissions from queuing ambulances as they approached A&E using a high-density, multi-sensor network. The initial findings revealed that all monitored locations frequently exceeded the World Health Organization's PM2.5 limits. By November, the scope of the project expanded to include emissions from goods-delivery vehicles.


In March 2022, the collected data indicated that NO2 levels at the drop-off point were consistently above the ambient average. To address this, Atmo recommended limiting the number of vehicles idling at the drop-off point to maintain safer particulate matter (PM) levels for staff and reduce exposure threshold events. Further suggestions included improving the Children’s A&E Entrance and Ambulance Bay Fence to minimise queuing and idling times.


The data also revealed that ambulance arrivals were busiest between 6-7 pm, with Saturdays averaging the highest daily number of ambulances (77).

By August, significant NO2 spikes caused by delivery vehicles were noted, emphasising the need for targeted interventions.


In April 2023, based on Atmo's data and recommendations, shoreline power for ambulances was activated, providing an alternative power source and reducing emissions. Alongside the implementation of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in November 2022, a noticeable decrease in ambient pollutant levels was detected in May 2023. By November, an increased number of electric vehicles in the hospital fleet resulted in a significant reduction in NO2 exceedances, from 77% in Q1 to 33% in Q4.


In 2024, the project expanded to St Michael’s Hospital with the installation of PM and NO2 sensors for comprehensive air quality monitoring, continuing the effort to improve environmental conditions and public health.



All the electrical equipment inside an ambulance uses the diesel from the engine unless connected to mains power
All the electrical equipment inside an ambulance uses the diesel from the engine unless connected to mains power

A Deep-Dive Into Shoreline Power

Shoreline power refers to the practice of supplying electricity from the grid to vehicles while they are stationary, rather than relying on their engines to generate power. In the context of ambulances, this means connecting the ambulances to an external power source when they are parked or idling, particularly while waiting at hospitals or emergency departments.


Benefits of Shoreline Power for Ambulances


  1. Reduction in Emissions: By using grid electricity instead of running their engines, ambulances can significantly reduce emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). This is particularly important in high-traffic areas like hospitals, where multiple idling ambulances can contribute to poor air quality.

  2. Improved Air Quality: Reduced emissions from ambulances lead to better air quality around hospitals, which is crucial for the health of patients, staff, and visitors.

  3. Cost Savings: Running engines while stationary consumes fuel, which is costly over time. Using grid electricity can be more economical, especially with the increasing integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid.

  4. Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Shoreline power allows ambulances to maintain their systems (like refrigeration for medications and medical equipment) without the need for engine power, ensuring that they are ready for immediate response without unnecessary engine wear and tear.


Shoreline power represents a practical and effective solution for reducing the environmental impact of ambulances, enhancing air quality, and achieving cost savings. By integrating this technology, healthcare facilities can contribute to public health not only through their medical services but also by mitigating the environmental footprint of their operations.



 

Join Us in Our Mission


At Atmo, we are committed to using our expertise in air quality monitoring to drive sustainability and efficiency. Learn more about the actions you can take to improve air quality by visiting the Clean Air Hub by Global Action Plan, or get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about how we can help improve air quality at your facility.

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