AirCasting is an American open-source air quality measurement platform officially existing since 2014 in the US. This is the concept that DHL International Madagascar imported to the Big Island in 2016 in partnership with the ZeroHero association.
AirCasting, a project imported from the USA
ZeroHero is an association that acts as a social enterprise. As this status does not yet exist in Madagascar, it has registered as an association and aims to fight against waste while promoting the green and circular economy by creating green and inclusive jobs. Among its various projects are “Manzer Partazer” for the redistribution of surplus food to orphanages, Trashure for the artisanal valorisation of waste and of course, AirCasting, currently implemented in the city of Antananarivo.
The AirCasting technology was imported from the USA by DHL International Madagascar, the original benefactor of ZeroHero. The initiative started from DHL, firstly to include it in its CSR actions via ZeroHero and secondly with a view to being able, one day, to set it up as a sort of institution. It would be a matter of giving the population the possibility and especially the automatism to consult the AirCasting data in the same way as they consult the weather forecast day after day.
Informing citizens to change their environmental impact
The main objective of the association, through this project, is obviously to inform Malagasy citizens about the quality of the air they breathe in Antananarivo. The capital is their very first field of action but they hope to expand it as the project progresses. The members of ZeroHero also wish to bring change by pushing everyone to invest fully from citizens to companies through the Malagasy state.
To carry out their project, they use a portable device called AirBeam. It only works with devices that can install the AirCasting application, which can be downloaded for free from the Playstore or Appstore: smartphone, tablet, phablet… The application displays the data collected by the AirBeam including fine particles, temperature, sound and humidity. This device is the only portable air quality measurement device in Madagascar.
An ambitious goal that requires the participation of the Malagasy people
ZeroHero intends to achieve its goal by collaborating and providing services for other companies or individuals who wish to install a measuring station. This can be done on their premises if the station serves their own needs or off-site if their goal is also to help inform citizens. Let’s recall that AirCasting aims to measure the exact quantity of PM2.5 contained in the air: the fine particles which have a diameter lower than 2.5µm. These particles are the most dangerous because they penetrate deep into the respiratory system and can cause various diseases: Stroke, bronchitis, heart failure, lung cancer, asthma…
From its inception to the present day, studies and data on the city’s air quality have been ad hoc. The association is therefore not yet able to pronounce on the real rate of pollution in Antananarivo for the moment.
“It is by collecting this data that we can define how polluted the city is, because before you could see it and feel it but without numbers and evidence you cannot know what work needs to be done downstream. AirCasting will therefore have served to measure the city’s air quality, to inform and raise awareness among citizens through the mass media, and to encourage everyone to take action to reduce air pollution in the city.” says Linda Rasamoelinaina, member of the ZeroHero association.
New measurements will be carried out to measure the air quality of all Antananarivo
Since February 2017, air quality measurements of 5 fixed locations in Antananarivo have been carried out at IMV Tsimbazaza, at the nursery CUA Antanimena at the 3 headquarters of the company DHL International Madagascar namely Andraharo, Ankorondrano and Ivato. Unfortunately, the association does not have the resources to measure the air quality of the entire city. AirCasting is currently in a data collection phase in order to achieve long-term evaluations in the coming time.
The association wishes to emphasize that although it informs on air quality and acts on its side to reduce pollution, the changes it wishes to bring will not be done without help and require the involvement of Malagasy citizens.
“Everyone can make a contribution to successfully improve air quality”.
Any individual wishing to learn more about AirCasting can visit the website aircasting.org and observe the various places already measured to date in a map of the city of Antananarivo visible to all.