The „Citizens Science to Improve Air Quality“ project aimed to raise awareness among parents about air quality in Budapest and St. Petersburg and to develop recommendations for implementing sustainable transport systems. The project was implemented by the Hungarian non-governmental organisation Levegő Munkacsoport (Clean Air Action Group) in partnership with the BELLONA Ecological Rights Center (Russia) and supported by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. The project allowed parents to measure air quality using Atmotube portable devices – these devices can measure the concentration of fine particles and volatile organic matters both outdoors and indoors.
According to the final report, urban citizens in both Budapest and St. Petersburg are exposed to air pollution on the streets as well as indoors. Parents, by measuring air quality, have become able to identify the causes of pollution and make changes in their lives if needed. 206 volunteers registered for the project in both cities, and 45 volunteers in Budapest and 30 ones in St. Petersburg took part in measurements and data collection (due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not all registered volunteers were able to get the measuring instruments). In this regard, a plan has been developed to continue measuring air quality by using measuring instruments. According to final reports, public interest in air quality issues has grown significantly.
Recommendations for improving public transport provided to the Budapest Municipality have drawn the attention of Hungarian politicians. The project participants themselves also became more active and demanding in relation to municipalities in connection with the improvement of air quality. The Budapest Municipality is expected to make decisions based on the presented recommendations. The recommendations for Budapest also contributed greatly to the formation of the recommendations for St. Petersburg. Both general recommendations for two cities and recommendations with the specificity of each city were prepared.
The project participants also shot the documentary “We are for Clean Air!”. Based on the interviews with air quality experts and the Mayor of Budapest and reliable information on the influence of city transport on air quality, it has become an important tool for raising awareness.