Image supplied by Dr Bronwyn Rossingh
Air in East Arnhem: Crowdsourcing Air Quality, Temperature, and Health Data with Yolŋu Citizen Scientists
The ‘Air in East Arnhem’ project has three main aims:
- To improve environmental health awareness by crowdsourcing ground-based air quality, temperature, and humidity data in three east Arnhem communities through fixed and wearable sensor monitoring
- To explore lived experiences of Yolngu regarding the health impacts of extreme environmental exposures and potential measures that can be put in place to reduce health impacts
- To test the cultural suitability and applicability of the AirRater app to track and manage health symptoms related to extreme humid heat and poor air quality.
Environmental stressors such as extreme heat and poor air quality have been linked to both increased morbidity and mortality across Australia. Climatic changes and increased growth and development in regions such as Northern Australia will worsen current environmental exposures and thereby increase the risks to people’s health. Proactive adaptation responses are required to reduce the preventable health burden caused by these environmental stressors. Nowhere is this more urgent than in very remote communities of Australia. These small communities dispersed across a vast area are typified by generally poor physical infrastructure and a predominantly Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander population with a high prevalence of chronic diseases. There is a dearth of evidence on how extreme heat or air pollution affects the health of remote communities, particularly because adequate temperature and air quality monitoring are not available for most remote communities. Despite the absence of evidence, environmental health issues have been raised as key matters of concern by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and many remote communities across Australia. This project aims to conduct temperature and air quality monitoring with the help of Yolŋu citizen scientists residing in three remote communities in East Arnhem land, Northern Territory. The study will co-explore potential adaptation practices to reduce the environmental health risks and contribute to a unique data set that will link extreme environmental exposures with health symptoms faced by Yolŋu in the East Arnhem region.
Early 2024 - 2026
- Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Indigenous Health Research Fund
- Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation
- Healthy Environments and Lives (HEAL) network
Menzies has received funding for a new project focused on improving environmental health awareness among people living in East Arnhem Land. The ‘Air in East Arnhem’ project is a collaboration led by Menzies, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation and AirRater.