The international program “Clean Air for Ukraine” has created a smart chatbot for Ukrainians, which automatically sends notifications about exceeding the background level of radiation and dangerous air pollution, including a chemical threat.
With the help of the Radiation and Smog Alarm chatbot, the user will be able to receive prompt and objective information about the radiation background and the level of air pollution here and now.
“The Radiation and Smog Alarm chatbot is the first operational radiation alert in Ukraine, which is extremely important during the war, when Russian terrorists seized the Zaporizhzhia NPP and constantly threaten other nuclear plants with missile strikes,” says Marcela Chernochova, coordinator of the “Clean Air for Ukraine”, expert of NGO “Arnika” (Czech Republic). – Alerts in case of exceeding the radiation background level at a dangerous average level of more than 30μR/h in the last 10 minutes are sent to everyone who is subscribed to at least one station in the region. During the war, we installed stations with gamma background sensors in various cities and towns, including Zaporizhzhia and Rivne, Kyiv, around the NPP.”
“The algorithm for calculating the condition of the Radiation and Smog Alarm about pollution includes as much as possible all the variable parameters for each user: how close the measuring stations are located to him, whether they are working or disconnected, whether it is new equipment that shows a whole list of pollutants, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, chlorine, ammonia, or the old one that only measures dust. What is also new is that the impact of pollution on various vulnerable categories of the population is taken into account,” explains Oleksiy Trelevsky, founder and curator of the largest network of public monitoring of radiation and air quality in Ukraine, EcoCity, technical expert of the “Clean Air for Ukraine” program, head of the chat development team -bot Radiation and Smog Alarm.
Maksym Soroka, Ph.D. technical Sciences, Ph.D., NGO “Dovkola”, UDUNT, head of the development team of the Ukrainian Air Quality Index (UA AQI), said that the testing of the chatbot has been going on for three weeks. “This chatbot is for citizens of all Ukraine, and it honestly reports on air quality and radiation, if the data is available, if there is a monitoring station nearby. Or reports that there is no data. I have set myself notifications both at the place of work and at the place of work.
Zaporozhye was one of the first regions that began to create a public notification system.
“Now, prompt notification of the population about the safety or danger of the environment is especially necessary, when the invasion of Russian terrorists has raised the topic of nuclear threat and radiation pollution. And, unfortunately, this has been implemented so far only by public systems. The state tried to create a system of monitoring and notification of air pollution back in the 2000s, but it is still being created,” said Iryna Pirogova, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Protection of the Zaporizhia Regional State Administration. – So we submitted proposals to include public monitoring in the state system, at least as a crutch, for the period of martial law.”
Oleksandr Skakalskyi, head of the Department of Ecology of the Executive Committee of the Kryvyi Rih City Council, noted: “When the number of dangerous events and news increases, the chatbot helps to check the radiation background and air pollution and find out that there is no threat and calm down, this is important in wartime. It is especially important that simple recommendations for household consumers are built into the chatbot, what to do in a particular situation when the level of pollution is red or yellow.”
“The war showed the need to urgently inform the population about the state of the air, the radiation background, and chemical pollution. The “Clean Air for Ukraine” program reacted quickly, concluded Oleksiy Angurets, deputy head of the Environmental Monitoring Center of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council. – The result will be a way of integrating public and state monitoring to create a modern system that will meet today’s challenges.”
The development and technical support of the Radiation and Smog Alarm chatbot is provided by the Czech NGO “Arnika” and the Ukrainian NGO “Free Arduino” as part of the “Clean Air for Ukraine” program, financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic as part of the Transition Program and the National Democracy Fund (USA).