Pollution Explorers Toolkit (PET) is a toolset and community engagement methodology designed for people to act collectively on air quality issues.

Pollution Explorers Toolkit (PET) is a proven set of tools and processes that combine people’s subjective perception of their environment with wearable technology, machine learning and citizen engagement strategies. PET is used to help improve a neighbourhood by working directly with residents, empowering them to make sense of air quality issues and more importantly, act upon them through individual and collective behaviour change.

The community is activated through a series of workshops in which participants explore their collective responsibility and agency in tackling air pollution and environmental issues, using wearable devices along a series of specific routes around their neighbourhoods. Participants make sense of the impact they have on the environment, share experiences and motivate each other in committing to tackling air quality issues through their own actions.

Working with a total of 300 local residents (adults, parents, children, students, council members, EU commission, activitists) over a period of 2 years, the initiative has so far proven that people’s ability to assess the quality of air compared to digital sensors is very high, up to 75% accurate in one workshop. As much as 90% of the participants have shown consistent dedication in committing to an action to tackle air quality in their everyday life over a period of 7 consecutive days. This is analysed through self-reported behaviour change over time through prepaid postcards with which they track their own pledges and behaviour change activities.

Overview of Pollution Explorers Toolkit


  • PET workshops for a group of 15-20 people
  • A series of low-tech wearable tools designed to record a wearer’s perception of AQ
  • Unique crowdsourced AQ data platform which combines local residents’ perception of air quality, air quality data gathered from sensors and public IoT platforms integrated with machine learning system
  • Self-reporting pledge devices designed to commit participants to behaviour change for a period of time
  • An engagement manual that sets out guidelines on participants recruitment and running of workshops for community organisers
  • Afterwards: a summary report and individual participant feedback for pledge-diaries

PET activities in each workshop
PET activities in each workshop

Expected outcomes

As a result of the PET workshop, participants will:

  • Have better quality AQ data about a neighbourhood
  • Feel more empowered to tackle air pollution
  • Be more aware of their collective responsibility and actions regarding environmental issues
  • Show commitment to changing their behavior: e.g. parents and students start commuting by walking, cycling and scooting; students recycle more and use less energy

Use Cases

  • Activating communities with air quality issues, e.g. school neighbourhoods
  • Validating and expanding on conventional digital AQ sensor data networks
  • AQ action campaigns