It’s all over the internet, television, and newspapers, pollution is worse than it has ever been before and it seems like a high speed train on the loose with no conductor. Pollution scares people because it is the cause of climate change and can directly lead to the spread of viruses and other contagions. We know the EPA is trying to help, but how much can one agency do for a planet of with 6 billion people? Google has come to the rescue and has provided the general population with amazing information technology that can reshape how we think about pollution, as well as make people think twice about the areas they live in. Google is going to start mapping out air pollution on Google maps and Google Earth so that anyone with access can see the levels of pollutants where they live.
Google has partnered up with Aclima, a startup that designs environmental sensors, to outfit its street mapping cars with sensors that can detect a number of pollutants, including black carbon, nitric oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide. It is originating in Denver, Colorado, but the mapping will start in California’s big cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles because those are areas with the most pollution in the country. With this kind of information technology, average citizens will be able to see how polluted their streets, neighborhoods, and cities are as often as the Google Maps and Earth updates the information.
This kind of technology means that people cannot use the excuse of ignorance when talking about pollution in their area because the information is at the tips of their fingers. By knowing how polluted their neighborhood is, they might just think twice about what kind of car the drive or how they dispose of their trash. This kind of information can be eye opening for homeowners who have no idea how contaminated the air around them is. Another sector of the population that might find interest in information about pollutant levels is families that are looking for a new home. A family with a newborn child will be much more hesitant to move to an area with high levels of pollution if they have access to that information. This can lead to these polluted areas becoming more spread out and less populated because fewer people want to live in those areas. That will be helpful for bringing pollution levels down if the population becomes more spread out.
I think Google has taken a huge step in our societies efforts to lower the pollution levels and preserve our environment. If a company like Google has the capabilities to innovate and inform more people about something unknown to them, then why shouldn’t they? It takes innovative technology like this to make people more aware and help the overall effort of making a better planet for everyone.
Schwartz, Ariel. "Google Is Going to Start Mapping Air Pollution All over California." Tech Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Link to article: http://www.techinsider.io/google-is-mapping-air-pollution-all-over-california-2015-9