Following a summer of record-breaking air quality concerns nationwide, the city of Boston has launched a new air quality widget.

Boston’s Department of Environment is working with Soofa, a supplier of solar-powered digital kiosks used as both a smart city communication tool and an advertising platform. Through a Soofa kiosk, the new widget displays real-time air quality information, including the current Air Quality Index (AQI), as well as the forecast for days ahead.

“We’re excited to partner with Soofa to increase accessibility of live air quality information and help Bostonians make educated decisions to protect themselves from the harmful effects of air pollution,” said Maria Rodriguez Ortega, air quality project manager with the City of Boston Environment Department. “Air pollution affects everyone, but it disproportionately impacts environmental justice communities. This initiative is one of many strategies to help the City of Boston close this gap.”

In a press release, the Boston Air Pollution Control Commission cited recent air quality issues due to Canadian wildfires as a motivator for the widget.  Recent air quality issues make it “even more evident the need for public awareness of air pollution, what causes it, and how Boston residents can protect themselves,” the commission said.

“This cutting-edge widget is designed to safeguard public health by providing real-time observed air quality data and forecasts using information from more than 2,000 monitoring stations,” said Jacques de Kock, Soofa’s head of engineering. “As we strive to make a positive impact, Soofa wants to ensure that the people of Boston can access crucial air quality information and stay protected wherever they are.”

Soofa says it hopes to expand the air quality widget to its kiosks nationwide.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs