AIR QUALITY Thousand strawberry plants to measure air quality in Madrid and Barcelona



A thousand residents of Madrid and Barcelona will place strawberry plant pots in the windows of their homes to participate in an experiment aimed at measuring air quality in large cities.

The initiative will be carried out by WeCount, the European citizen science project to account for and measure mobility in cities, and will consist of the citizen distribution of 1,000 pots of strawberry plants between 6 and 9 October, which will provide a detailed analysis to address the problems related to urban planning and urban pollution.

As noted by the promoters of this initiative, the leaves of strawberry plants act as small environmental monitoring stations because they accumulate the particles present in and through the air, applying biomagnetic techniques, the polluting compounds can be identified.

Five months on the balconies

For the experiment to be effective, plants must remain on the balconies of the participants for five months, after which two or three sheets should be sent to the analysis laboratory next to a form on location and observations.

With this data will be carried out a study that will allow to know the concentration of polluting particles in the different streets and neighborhoods of Madrid and Barcelona.

In addition, the conclusions of this air quality analysis will be crossed with the results of another study carried out by WeCount since last June in Madrid and Barcelona and which consists in the placement of sensors in the windows to collect real-time data on how many cars, heavy vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians pass through the streets to know the levels of traffic and mobility.

Air watchers

Both initiatives form the Vigilantes del Aire project, aimed at measuring atmospheric quality in various Spanish cities thanks to citizen collaboration.

In distribution of strawberry plants in Madrid will be held on October 8 and 9 at the Medialab Prado facilities, while in Barcelona they can be collected at the headquarters of Ideas for Change, driver of the project, in Ronda Universitat, 33.

Next to the strawberry plants, information on the requirements to participate in the entire WeCount experiment and the registration process, which is carried out through the website and

The organization will ask interested parties for a photograph of their window to check if it meets the requirements, and will send the sensor home.

The study of strawberry plants takes place within the framework of the Vigilantes de Aire project, and includes among other entities the Ibercivis Foundation, the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

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