Air Quality and Roads

Interactive Data Visualization

data-analysis pollution environment

Play with some interactive graphs!

It's no surprise that burning gasoline and coal creates reaction products that are harmful to humans and the environment. Let's explore why they're bad for your health, and how they are spread across Europe!

  • NO2: Whether nitrogen dioxide is rained down as nitric acid or inhaled as a brownish gas, this pollutant causes tissue damage and interferes with your hemoglobin's ability to bind oxygen.
  • SO2: Sulfur dioxide causes inflammation and tissue damage. It dissolves in water as the main component of acid rain, which mobilizes metals usually bound in the soil.
  • O3: When inhaled, ozone wrecks havoc on human tissue and damages DNA.
  • PM2.5 and PM10: PM stands for 'Particulate Matter' and the subscript denotes the particle size in micrometers. These fine particles suspended in the air can deposit metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons in your lungs. BaP: Benzo(a) pyrene is a persistent organic pollutant that causes tissue irritation. It is rated by IARC as a probable carcinogen.

Are pollutant concentrations higher near vehicle traffic, or different between urban and suburban areas? The hisogram below displays the spread of measurements taken -- a taller bar means more measurements were close to the corresponding value on the x-axis. The vertical lines mark the average value. Hint: Look at NO2 for an example of a statistically significant difference!

Next up is an interactive map! The default setting simply shows a color gradient of least-to-greatest within the measurements. "Normalize to Limit" lets you compare measurements to the relevant health standard for that pollutant. When normalized to the limit, 'dark green' countries are under the limit, and the color gradient from there shows you how badly the limit is exceeded.

These Shiny apps were coded by Team Pollute, my group for UCSB's Bren School Winter 2016 Informatics course. They update directly from the data file stored on the server, which is pretty dang cool! You can update the data and this visualization will reflect the new data.

Data is from the EU Urban and Large City Audit Project's 2013 dataset.

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