You can now check air quality – online

The University of Brighton has launched online air quality data so residents can see which times and days were more polluted than others.

The service could help those with respiratory diseases such as asthma avoid outdoor exposure when levels of pollutants are at their highest.

The data is in the form of graphs showing levels of potentially harmful gases over the last 24 hours, seven and 30 days. The graphs can be seen at: https://bit.ly/2QwNHxp

The readings come from the University’s £250,000 Air Environment Research (AER) monitoring station at Falmer, the first of its kind in the UK.

Dr Kevin Wyche, Senior Lecturer in Atmospheric Science and Air Quality Management within the University’s School of Environment and Technology, and co-founder and principal investigator of the AER, said knowing what pollutants are in the air is increasingly vital.

He said: “More than 50,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK from air pollution-related diseases, costing the NHS around 16 per cent of its total budget. Knowing when pollution is at its highest during the day and what days are worse than others could help some people avoid exposure.”

Launched following last week’s World Health Organisation’s conference in Brussels on air quality, it provides five graphs:

* Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 – the main source is burning fossil fuels as in cars and this can irritate lungs and make diseases such as asthma worse. This, in turn, can lead to great risk of infections

* Ozone O3 – concentrations are often highest on hot, still and sunny days, and are a major component of modern ‘smog’

* Sulphur Dioxide SO2 – can be damaging to the environment and acts as a respiratory irritant, causing coughing and shortness of breath

* Formaldehyde HCHO – can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat.

* Nitrous Acid HONO – can contribute to the formation of other pollutants

Dr Wyche, who is chairing a forthcoming Public Policy Exchange at an EC and ClientEarth event, said the WHO has reported that outdoor air pollution kills more people worldwide than road traffic accidents, smoking and diabetes combined.

Dr Kirsty Smallbone, Head of the School of Environment and Technology and is co-founder and co-investigator of Air Environment Research, said: “Brighton is exceeding air quality limits set by the government and it is crucial that we enhance our understanding of the relationships that exist between pollutants and health. It is also vital and incumbent upon us to share our knowledge and data with the public.”

The monitoring station is co-funded by the EU’s Interreg IVB NWE programme and the University of Brighton as part of the Joint Air Quality Initiative (JOAQUIN). Graphs and data archives are produced by Jason Bailey, Learning Technologies Adviser at the University.

The value of sharing your research

Dr James Cole’s research on Prehistoric cannibalism has scored one of the highest Altmetric scores of Social Science articles published in 2017 open access by the journal Scientific Reports part of the  Springer Nature publishing group.

Springer Nature report that his research paper was mentioned in 800+ tweets and almost 200 news articles and feature Dr Cole as the headline in their “Open Voices” campaign about Open Access publishing. Read More

Brighton researchers aiming to save the whale – and humans

University of Brighton scientists have discovered a more environmentally-friendly way of preventing man-made toxins from leaching into the water system – using living organisms.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), now banned by most countries including the UK (1981), are still posing serious health risks and are suspected of causing the death of a new-born orca which made headlines around the world earlier this year when its mother Tahlequah carried the dead calf for 17 days.

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Observing nature; working with nature – an artist’s perspective

A Wetland LIFE Blog – Dr Mary Gearey

One of the many joys of working on the WetlandLIFE project has been the chance to meet, talk with and spend time with a wide variety of people who cherish these very special landscapes. In particular the ‘sense of place’ fieldwork that we are collectively undertaking explores the various ways in which these wetlands engender a very special relationship between site users and the wetlands themselves. Talking with these different users has helped the research team really appreciate the particular, and often unseen, characteristics of these spaces.

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‘Ig’ Nobel prize for Brighton researcher

Research which quantified the calorific value of the human body has won a global award for a University of Brighton researcher.

The Ig Nobel prize, which celebrates unusual and imaginative research and runs parallel to the Nobel Prizes, has been awarded to Dr James Cole, Principal Lecturer in Archaeology from the University’s School of Environment and Technology. He received his award at Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA, last night (13 September).

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Mineral better than bleach at fighting disease-causing microorganisms

University of Brighton scientists have discovered that a mineral is more efficient than chemicals in fighting the spread of diseases during humanitarian emergencies.
27 July 2018

They compared hydrated lime-based treatments of human excreta against more traditional chorine-based chemicals such as bleach and found that lime provided greater treatment efficacy. It is hoped the findings will lead to a reduction in the spread of diseases, particularly among patients and healthcare workers at Ebola and cholera treatment centres. Read More

University of Brighton at Paddle Round the Pier

The sun shone and temperatures soared at this years Paddle Round the Pier. And we were there, hosting talks at the event’s University of Brighton lecture theatre.

Dr James Ebdon and Dr Diogo Gomes Da Silva (accompanied by their glamorous assistant Bob the Dog) talked ‘Bug, Beaches and Belly Aches’, presenting microbiology research on water quality, exploring how we monitor bathing water quality, why it’s important, what’s in the water and what it’s like elsewhere in the world.

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Hands-on science for Brighton students

Young people with an interest in science and engineering can learn how to turn their passion into a career at a science fair in Brighton tomorrow (11 July).

Big Bang @ Brighton will take place at the University of Brighton and organisers are promising “an exciting, colourful and noisy event” aimed at encouraging more students to pursue further studies and potential careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Organised by STEM Sussex, the University of Brighton’s STEM outreach department, the event is funded by the Sussex Learning Network’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), a four-year programme aimed at encouraging more young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, into higher education.

Big Bang @ Brighton will feature a range of hands-on activities, workshops and shows provided by many local companies, universities and colleges and other organisations, highlighting the STEM-related opportunities available to young people in the area. Read More

See you at Paddle Round the Pier 2018

It looks like it’s going to be a glorious weekend for this year’s Paddle Round the Pier; the largest beach festival in Europe. And our university is proud to be one of the sponsors. 

There’ll be a University of Brighton lecture theatre at the event, hosting a number of talks, including some familiar faces from our school. Come along and see Dr James Ebdon and Dr Diogo Gomes Da Silva at 11am on Saturday who’ll be talking “Bugs, Beaches and Belly Aches – a microbiologists eye-view on recreational water quality”, and Dr Kirsten Jenkins who will be discussing the potential for renewable energy transition in her talk “as strong as the sea: renewable energy potential on the South Coast”.

Come along and join in the fun from water, street and urban sports to live music and more. Paddle Round the Pier 2018 is happening this weekend, 7 and 8 July, on Hove Lawns. See you there!

Exploring Environmental Challenges

Big Bang logo
Young students will be allowed to build water filters, investigate the structure of rocks, measure the quality of the air they breathe and even build their own glacier.

The hands-on experiences are being offered by University of Brighton scientists at the South of England Showground this week.

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