Kentish Town Particulate Matter Monitoring Project July 2016

By: Ian Grant

Following up on a press release for a high-quality Particulate Matter monitor for construction sites, a request was put in to review it.

The construction monitor was double booked, so as a favour, TSI loaned a handheld indicative, spot check monitor – the Dusttrak DRX 8534. The legal standard is based on continuous monitors and gravimetric technology which the National Air Quality Network and DEFRA uses. The model we had uses light source technology and is used for comparisons, and to highlight trouble spots and areas which need more investigation. A previous meeting with a Kings College air pollution specialist said that TSI was a good reliable brand – but also that there were unreliable brands on the market.

The model arrived with a Certificate of Calibration and Testing, but without any instructions. So we downloaded the manual and operating software. There were four main touch screen controls: MAIN; RUN MODE; SET-UP and DATA. By a process of trial and error, we set it up to record at 1-minute intervals.

A team of volunteers was quickly assembled, some of whom helped with the NO2 monitoring project with expert help from Rachel and Dee (and thanks to Rik, Debbie, Steven, Elaine, Kathy, Andria, Marianne, Sydney, Pamela, Jo, Catherine, Dorothy, John, and Sarah and Julietta who did stints during the day). Kentish Town High Street near the Underground entrance was found to be a particularly bad spot for NO2, so we located a spot outside Prêt a Manger to monitor continuously during the day.

The monitor shows results in milligrams/ metre cubed (mg/m3). The continuous 24 hour standard for this country for PM10 is 50 micrograms/m3 (μg/m3) over a 24 hour period with 35 yearly exceedances; and 40 µg/m3 over the year. And for PM2.5, 25 µg/m3 over a year. So the thing to watch for PM10 is anything over the 0.05 line and for PM2.5 anything over the 0.025 line (see graphs and figures below).

The most noticeable feature is the number of spikes for both the 50 µg/m3 limit as well as the PM2.5, 25 µg/m3 limit. Although taken over a 24 hour time period, given the reduction of traffic during the night the results are unlikely to breach the legal limit, the number of spikes over the limit are alarming. Can they trigger health effects, like asthma attacks?

Noticeably high spikes occurred when there was someone smoking nearby, combined with a back-up of stationary traffic from the traffic lights. Spikes were caused generally by buses and lorries accelerating from a stationary position.  There was also a sharp rise when passing a roadside construction works in a recording on another day.

I carried out further monitoring – including taking a bus 134 to Tottenham Court Road and taking a tube from Tottenham Court Road to Tufnell Park in the evening rush hour (although it has to be noted that Underground air quality is not subject to the legal limits of above ground ambient air quality); Another trial was walking on the kerbside of Kentish Town High Street compared to the inside of the pavement (there is a drop off walking on the inside – the results can be seen below).

Catherine Keshishian undertook some monitoring on Wolsey Mews during the morning rush hour on a separate day and the results showed that taking this route for pedestrians at least would result in less exposure to PM pollutants. Exploration of less polluting routes for pedestrians in Camden could prove fruitful in terms of future citizen science monitoring projects.

School Project

Thanks to: Rachel Wrangham

The monitor was also used by Year 4 children (KS2) at Kentish Town School, to support them in their campaigning on local air quality issues.  This has been being carried out as a cross-curricular activity, and as part of the Go-Givers scheme, which encourages active citizenship.  Kentish Town School is an inner-city single form entry primary school, that lies less than 100m from a busy road.  A mainline train line, with regular diesel-powered passenger and freight trains, and a frequent electric service, runs directly below the small playground.

Prior to the arrival of the particulate monitor, the children had carried out diffusion tube NO2 monitoring and had learned about the different kinds of particulate matter that might be an air quality concern.

At the start of the session, the children were asked to identify three different locations for monitoring.  They were asked to choose one area where they would expect low particulate levels, one where they would expect medium particulate levels, and a third where levels were likely to be high.  After some discussion the children chose:

  1. an area called the ‘oasis’, which is densely planted and has numerous small trees and shrubs
  2. a green area of the playground from which trains are frequently heard, and where diesel fumes are often smelled
  3. the bus stop kerbside outside the tube station on the main High Street

Looking at the visual display on the monitor, the children could immediately see that background particulate levels were low.  Initially, they were surprised that the passing of a train didn’t bring about an immediate ‘spike’ in levels, but they came to realise that there was a considerable delay before the particles emitted or re-suspended reached the monitor.  They were also able to observe that spikes in particulate levels followed the passing of both electric and diesel trains, although the spikes following the passing of diesel trains were higher.  They suggested that this was due to the electric trains stirring up dust.  All children were very struck by the much higher background level of particulates, and the more dramatic and frequent spikes they could see when monitoring at the kerbside on the High Street.  The highest levels were recorded shortly after buses accelerated to draw away from the bus stop, but small spikes followed the passing of even light transport.

The children much enjoyed the sessions and were able to report on what they’d learned to their MP.

In the meantime the raw results are below:

KENTISH TOWN HIGH STREET PARTICULATE MONITORING PROJECT

7th July (7 am -8.30 pm): Inside Pavement at Pret à Manger

kt-high-street-early

KENTISH TOWN HIGH STREET – EARLY MORNING (7:18 am – 1:06 pm)

Instrument Data Properties
Model DustTrak DRX Start Date 07/07/2016
Instrument S/N 8534092504 Start Time 07:18:00
Stop Date 07/07/2016
Stop Time 13:06:00
Total Time 0:05:48:00
Logging Interval 60 seconds

Statistics

PM1 PM2.5 RESP PM10 TOTAL
Avg 0.025   mg/m^3 0.026   mg/m^3 0.027   mg/m^3 0.033   mg/m^3 0.040   mg/m^3
Max 0.135   mg/m^3 0.137   mg/m^3 0.140   mg/m^3 0.150   mg/m^3 0.162   mg/m^3
Max Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Max Time 11:29:00 11:29:00 11:29:00 11:29:00 11:29:00
Min 0.004   mg/m^3 0.004   mg/m^3 0.005   mg/m^3 0.007   mg/m^3 0.009   mg/m^3
Min Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Min Time 10:17:00 10:46:00 10:17:00 10:17:00 10:17:00
TWA (8 hr) 0.018 0.019 0.019 0.024 0.029
TWA Start Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
TWA Start Time 07:18:00 07:18:00 07:18:00 07:18:00 07:18:00
TWA End Time 13:06:00 13:06:00 13:06:00 13:06:00 13:06:00

graph-2.png

KENTISH TOWN HIGH STREET – EARLY AFTERNOON (2.30 pm – 4 pm)

Instrument Data Properties
Model DustTrak DRX Start Date ########
Instrument S/N 8534092504 Start Time 14:33:00
Stop Date ########
Stop Time 16:04:00
Total Time 0:01:31:00
Logging Interval 60 seconds

Statistics

PM1 PM2.5 RESP PM10 TOTAL
Avg 0.038   mg/m^3 0.039   mg/m^3 0.041   mg/m^3 0.047   mg/m^3 0.054   mg/m^3
Max 0.094   mg/m^3 0.094   mg/m^3 0.095   mg/m^3 0.099   mg/m^3 0.104   mg/m^3
Max Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Max Time 15:29:00 15:29:00 15:29:00 15:29:00 15:29:00
Min 0.009   mg/m^3 0.009   mg/m^3 0.010   mg/m^3 0.012   mg/m^3 0.016   mg/m^3
Min Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Min Time 14:41:00 14:41:00 14:41:00 14:41:00 14:41:00
TWA (8 hr) 0.007 0.007 0.008 0.009 0.010
TWA Start Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
TWA Start Time 14:33:00 14:33:00 14:33:00 14:33:00 14:33:00
TWA End Time 16:04:00 16:04:00 16:04:00 16:04:00 16:04:00

graph-3.png

KENTISH TOWN HIGH STREET – LATE AFTERNOON (5:21 pm – 7:00 pm)

Instrument Data Properties
DustTrak DRX Start Date ########
8534092504 Start Time 17:21:00
Stop Date ########
Stop Time 19:00:00
Total Time 0:01:39:00
Logging Interval 60 seconds

Statistics

PM1 PM2.5 RESP PM10 TOTAL
Avg 0.027   mg/m^3 0.028   mg/m^3 0.029   mg/m^3 0.034   mg/m^3 0.040   mg/m^3
Max 0.121   mg/m^3 0.121   mg/m^3 0.122   mg/m^3 0.129   mg/m^3 0.151   mg/m^3
Max Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Max Time 17:30:00 17:30:00 17:30:00 17:30:00 17:26:00
Min 0.000   mg/m^3 0.000   mg/m^3 0.000   mg/m^3 0.000   mg/m^3 0.000   mg/m^3
Min Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Min Time 18:44:28 18:44:28 18:44:28 18:44:28 18:44:28
TWA (8 hr) 0.006 0.006 0.006 0.007 0.008
TWA Start Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
TWA Start Time 17:21:00 17:21:00 17:21:00 17:21:00 17:21:00
TWA End Time 19:00:00 19:00:00 19:00:00 19:00:00 19:00:00

graph-4.png

KENTISH TOWN HIGH STREET – EVENING (8 pm – 9:30 pm)

Instrument Data Properties
Model DustTrak DRX Start Date ########
Instrument S/N 8534092504 Start Time 20:10:00
Stop Date ########
Stop Time 21:31:00
Total Time 0:01:21:00
Logging Interval 60 seconds

Statistics

PM1 PM2.5 RESP PM10 TOTAL
Avg 0.024   mg/m^3 0.025   mg/m^3 0.026   mg/m^3 0.028   mg/m^3 0.031   mg/m^3
Max 0.066   mg/m^3 0.067   mg/m^3 0.067   mg/m^3 0.070   mg/m^3 0.075   mg/m^3
Max Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Max Time 20:23:00 20:23:00 20:23:00 20:26:00 20:26:00
Min 0.009   mg/m^3 0.009   mg/m^3 0.009   mg/m^3 0.010   mg/m^3 0.012   mg/m^3
Min Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
Min Time 21:09:00 21:09:00 21:09:00 21:09:00 21:09:00
TWA (8 hr) 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.005 0.005
TWA Start Date 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016 07/07/2016
TWA Start Time 20:10:00 20:10:00 20:10:00 20:10:00 20:10:00
TWA End Time 21:31:00 21:31:00 21:31:00 21:31:00 21:31:00

Underground from Tottenham Court Road to Tufnell Park

graph-5.png

Walking along Oxford Street

graph-6.png

134 Bus from Tufnell Park to Tottenham Court Road

graph-7.png

graph-8.png

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