A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the University and the international project “Clean Air for Ukraine”, which is implemented in Ukraine by the NGO Free Arduino and the Czech NGO Arnika. The scientists talked about their plans.
Kremenchuk is an industrial city that had a developed oil refining industry and polluted air before the war. The rocket attacks on the city showed that the community and the municipality in case of danger do not have a tool for operational determination of air pollution and radiation. Scientists of Mykhailo Kremenchug National University Ostrogradskyi (KrNU) have long been engaged in monitoring atmospheric air quality, followed the development of the capabilities of the Ecocity public monitoring network, used it in the educational process, and in 2021 installed an AirFreshMax air quality monitoring device in one of the university buildings. This summer, patrons from business helped purchase 6 Ecocity AirFreshMa stations, and the “Clean Air for Ukraine” project provided another 2 stations as a gift.
“Our organization “Arnika” has been working in Ukraine for several years, focusing mainly on air pollution and public participation in legal proceedings and environmental issues, said Marcela CHERNOTSOVA, project coordinator of the NGO “Arnika” (Czech Republic) in Ukraine https:// arnika.org – The main activity of our project remains the same – the development and support of the public air monitoring network EcoCity, provided by our partner Free Arduino. Unfortunately, the network was significantly damaged and many stations were destroyed or disconnected. We are currently working on restoration. The importance of the network has been proven during the ongoing war, as many citizens and local authorities have used data and information to determine the air quality situation – especially in the case of attacks and accidents caused by shelling and air raids (e.g. Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant). And I am glad that we are not only restoring the damaged sections of the network, but also expanding the network to new territories. New users from such places as Rivne, Vinnytsia, Dykanka – and now Kremenchuk are joining our network. Thank you for joining us!”.
Mykhailo ZAGIRNYAK, rector of KrNU, highly appreciated the prospects of cooperation. “This is an important initiative because we are under the pressure of war, which has further aggravated the problems of human existence related to man-made disasters. Joining the Community Air Quality and Radiation Monitoring Network will help broaden the vision of what’s happening in the region and show students the importance of caring for the environment. The connection with the primary programs is obvious,” he said.
EcoCity is a Ukrainian network of public air quality monitoring implemented by the NGO “Free Arduino” together with partners and scientific and technical advisors. The project is not limited to monitoring the content of PM2.5 and PM10 fine dust, but actively works on the entire list of priority pollutants recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Currently, the EcoCity project stations are capable of assessing air quality for 19 pollutants, including ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compounds. The EcoCity network develops active partnerships with civil society institutions and academic communities. More than 30,000 users from Ukraine use the electronic air quality map (www.eco-city.org.ua) every month.
The KrNU Polytechnic College in the city of Horishna Plavni also joins the monitoring.
The first stage of cooperation between the parties will be the organization of a system of public monitoring of atmospheric air quality in Kremenchuk. The project will be implemented by a team of KrNU scientists: the first vice-rector of KrNU, Professor Volodymyr Nikiforov, Ph.D. Volodymyr Bakharev, Ph.D. Andrii Perekrest, Ph.D. Volodymyr Chenchevoi, Ph.D. Olga Chencheva, Ph.D. Olena Kortsova.
Therefore, the scientific community of Kremenchuk will inform the population about air quality and radiation, take care of environmental safety, and involve students in the application of IT technologies to achieve sustainable development.