What is “Breathe Easy”?

Breathe Easy is a community-level project to measure Ottawa’s air quality, inspired by the INHALE project in Toronto (Toronto Environmental Alliance) and Hamilton (Environment Hamilton). The air quality of Ottawa’s Arboretum was compared to the air quality near daycares, schools and senior centres, where congregate the city’s most vulnerable residents. Volunteers were asked to walk, roll, ride or run in all areas of the city while carrying an easy to use mobile air monitoring device that can be attached to bikes, wheelchairs, backpacks, scooters or baby strollers. Low-cost monitors are used to measure and map air quality with residents, supporting well-informed actions and helping to bring the topic of air quality to a wider audience, including city councillors and city staff.

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The air quality data, matched with GPS coordinates, was uploaded to an online map. This tool will allow online users to identify both good and poor air quality areas in their neighbourhood. Identifying ‘hot spots’ across the city for PM2.5, O3 and NO2 pollution is an important first step in sparking community dialogue around neighbourhood-level solutions designed to improve air quality and ultimately, quality of life.

Breathe Easy Map

This project was made possible with the help of the Trottier Foundation and the Ottawa Sustainability Fund. 

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