Democracy and participation, Environment and sustainability

On Air Quality

Creators

Who is behind this?

Antonella Sforza

Ri-puliamoci

https://www.facebook.com/Ripuliamoci/

Italy

Idea

Idea pitch

Air pollution is a severe issue in our region, Apulia. We want to empower people to deal with it in a scientific and concrete way.
The idea is to monitor the quality of air through DIY sensors built by citizens themselves (under the guidance of experts, with a hands-on approach).
All the data collected will be made publicly and openly available, not only raising awareness on air pollution, but also promoting the values of openness, solidarity, democracy and active citizenship.

Where will your project idea take place?

Altamura and neighbouring towns in the hinterland of Apulia, a region located in the south of Italy.

What is the local challenge?

The specific challenge we want to address is the quality of air in our region.
There are several environmental issues in most of the small Apulian towns, such as the scarcity of public green areas (under the legal minimum per inhabitant), a high concentration of smog, and the shortage of public transport, bicycle lanes or other ecological alternatives.
The main problem is a lack of data: “ARPA Apulia” (the Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection) has assigned only one sensor to monitor air quality in Altamura and none to the neighbouring towns (i.e. Gravina in Puglia, Santeramo in Colle and Toritto).

Our solution is to involve citizens in the process of gathering more data and divulge them in a clearly understandable way to a broader audience.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

In the early stages, citizens will be actively involved in both educational and practical workshops (notably, to build the DIY sensors and put them to use).
Later on, citizens will analyse the data and co-design viable action plans to tackle the issues, strengthening democracy on two levels: decision-making within the local community, as well as interacting with policy makers.
This idea grants citizens' engagement because we favour a bottom-up approach to community development, in which people are the protagonists of the change. Moreover, we believe it fosters participation because the topic is relevant to any citizen, which will help to get media attention and coverage.

Who are you doing it for?

Our main target groups are:
* Citizens: our association is already well-known by young people and families who usually take part in our local initiatives, which grants a diverse pool of opinions and social backgrounds. In addition to that, we will involve people with disabilities thanks to the partner organisation “Alteriamoci”.
* Local policy-makers: we aim to facilitate the interaction between citizens and policy-makers. One key figure is the councilor Michele Cornacchia, with responsibility for Participatory Democracy.
* Local and national organisations (among others: “Iperurbano”, “Alteriamoci”, “Link”) and public bodies (“ARPA”).
As for the beneficiaries: literally everyone needs to breathe better air. We do also hope to become a positive example and promote active citizenship.

How do you plan to get there?

1. We will promote the project through local media to reach as many citizens as possible;
2. We will arrange educational and practical workshops to build sensors, based upon the experiential learning methodology: the participants will learn by doing, through non-formal education activities, supported by experts (e.g. engineers and craftsmen from a technical point of view, trainers and facilitators from an educational one).
3. We will share on a website all the data collected on air pollution (i.e. PM10 and PM2.5), clarifying their meaning and any other relevant information about the project.
4. We will involve citizens in the process of data analysis and brainstorm meetings.
5. We will carry out solutions and dissemination activities decided through a participative process.

What are the expected results?

1. After carrying out our project there will be more openly available data about the quality of air in Apulia.
2. Success would lead to an actual reduction of air pollution and produce a change on two levels, according to our bottom-up approach: citizens would be more respectful of the environment (e.g. by improving their daily life habits) and more active in the local community “from below”; policy-makers would be more supportive and directly involved in solutions “from above”.
3. Thanks to our project, we can provide “ARPA” with more valuable data on air pollution (especially related to areas that are not being currently monitored).
4. The local community will be empowered with a demonstration that active citizens can achieve concrete results.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

We believe that carrying out a European project in a local environment can be a strong signal especially to people who distrust the concept of a united Europe and/or feel it as a too distant entity from their daily lives.
We would like to act as a bridge to bring European citizenship closer to our community.
Thanks to our partner organisation “Link”, the local participants will have a team working experience in intercultural settings.
Moreover, we would like to reach out to more European people and organisations to inspire similar initiatives throughout Europe. This is why we think we would greatly benefit from the support of the Civic Europe team.
We firmly believe in citizens’ empowerment, including our own, because there can be no democracy without active citizenship.

What is your story?

We aim to develop the concept of a green city and a sustainable lifestyle, which is not an easy task considering the cultural background of our town. Most people are not fully aware about the issue of air pollution, and we want them to realise that a change can start even from the simple citizens.
Besides this specific idea, the very mission of our association revolves around sustainability, environmental protection and active citizenship: these are the core values behind every initiative we undertake – be it a local event, a national tender or an international project.

€ 28000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 28000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Equipment: 2,000.00 € (for the DIY sensors workshops)
Travel and accommodation: 3,000.00 € (transports, networking events, etc.)
Goods and services: 9,000.00 € (website, software, media and communication, copywriting, translations, conference rooms rent, etc.)
Personnel: 12,000.00 € (staff, administration, etc.)
Indirect and other: 2,000.00 € (electricity, phone, internet etc.)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Feedback from people and organisations that have carried out similar initiatives would be especially valuable to us, but we gladly welcome any kind of advice on how our idea can be improved: if you have any suggestion, please let us know!

Team

RiAnto

Kelo

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 28, 2020

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