Saaf Hava (Clean Air) Citizen Monitoring in Easton

Council of Bristol Mosques (CBM) & Residents Against Dirty Energy (RADE) have launched Saaf Hava (Clean Air) a project that will map Air Pollution at 20 Easton sites, in great detail in real-time.

“Saaf Hava is everyone’s business. We all need it, and we all have a right to decide how to get Clean Air.”

Using sensors to detect Particulate and Nitrous Oxide air pollution at Mosques, homes and businesses across the area, Saaf Hava will give data to the community to help shape air quality improvements.

Already, 2 of the new sensor sites are working, with more to follow.

Arif Khan Chair of CBM feels that:

“Saaf Hava will give the community invaluable information, and bring many more voices into this debate about all our futures. We all breath the same air, and pollution knows no boundaries. Too often, the BAME communities are not involved. Now we are showing that we both care, and can contribute positively.

I am talking to all parts of the Faith Community, asking them to join us, and add sensors to their buildings so that we can create a more and more detailed map of the very air we all breath”.


Stuart Phelps Core Member of RADE said:

“Saaf Hava is RADE’s most exciting project. It will have a more significant long term impact than anything we have ever done – including defeating attempts to build diesel and gas-fired power plants on St Philip’s Marsh.

We have always said that it’s not difficult to involve our friends and neighbours in the BAME Communities – this proves it. RADE will be calling upon partners like UWE and the Council to join the UK’s first citizen-led air pollution micro-grid covering an entire community.


Sensors used

There will be two sensors at each site.

1. Particulate air pollution sensors are part of the international Sensor Community. There are already a number of these sensors across Bristol, and Saaf Hava will add at least 20 more concentrated in Easton. The data is freely available, and anyone can see it at any time. Here is the first of the Saaf Hava sensors at Bristol Sweet Mart, St Marks Road, on the first day of installation.


2. Nitrous Oxide diffusion tubes give a monthly average reading – unfortunately, there are no affordable ‘live’ sensors for Nitrous Oxide at the moment. If they become available, we will upgrade the network.

Saaf Hava will improve on the current map of Nitrous Oxide levels in Easton.

Sources of Air Pollution

Particulates are ultra-fine soot and debris often smaller than 1/16th of the diameter of a human hair. They are so small they can pass through the lung into the bloodstream and reach every part of the body, even the brain. 39% of the particulates generated in Bristol come from burning solid fuel – e.g. Wood-burning stoves

Nitrous Oxide is a gas most commonly associated with the exhaust from diesel vehicles. In Bristol, the levels of Nitrous Oxide are higher than the legal limit and to tackle it the Council has been looking at Clean Air Zones etc.

Health Impacts of Air Pollution

Each Year 300 people die prematurely in Bristol from Air Pollution. 168 of these are attributed to Particulate Air Pollution, the rest from Nitrous Oxide [Source Bristol City Council 2017].

Almost daily a closer and closer link is made between Air Pollution and how life-threatening a Covid-19 infection can be. Where air pollution is highest, the impact of catching Covid-19 is more significant.

The size & future of Saaf Hava

Initially, there will be 20 sites across the Easton area of BS5. The community funds these. Grants and other sources will support more locations in the future.

Future expansion phases of Saaf Hava includes

  • Large Screen displays of real-time information in shop windows, starting in St Marks Road, so that people who don’t have access to the internet can see the information. This might include data from the Council’s sensors as well
  • Citizen Coding Clubs using Saaf Hava data to develop new ways to communicate with the community, and build their digital skills
  • Modelling the impact of proposed changes to the area to avoid increasing air pollution where it is already highest
  • Identifying sources of pollution that can then be reduced or removed
  • Advising other parts of Bristol, and the UK, on how to set up similar projects and involve excluded parts of the community in air pollution reduction.