Paris City Hall: a partner in fighting air pollution
Paris City Hall has been involved in the project alongside Aérophile since the beginning, and has continued to lend its support to the Ballon Generali.
The balloon is more than just a popular tourist attraction – it is an educational tool to raise awareness among Parisians about air quality. It is an innovative laboratory in the center of Paris unlike any other in the world.
The balloon, which is located in the André Citroën park in the 15th arrondissement, was set up for the year 2000 celebration festivities to give people a bird’s eye view of the city from 492 feet (150 meters) above.
The activity became a well-loved tourist attraction in its own right that fits perfectly into its surroundings. So far, nearly one million people, a third of whom were children under 12 with free access, have already been welcomed on board.
Its success has made the balloon an excellent tool to raise awareness about environmental issues and to provide real-time information about the air quality in Paris through the special color codes on its envelope.
This project, supported by the City of Paris, is part of a European program that since 2004 has given 21 European cities access to hourly differentiated data using two indices (ambient air quality and air quality near traffic) on ambient pollution and traffic-related pollution as part of the CITEAIR program. The air quality data is transmitted by Airparif using a live lighting system to inform and raise awareness among Paris metropolitan residents about the city’s air quality.
The balloon offers not only access to information on air pollution but is also a unique and unprecedented opportunity to study the composition of different atmospheric layers.
The City of Paris makes a special effort to ensure that the balloon supports the city’s touristic and scientific outreach and continues to benefit locals: a partnership has given more than 10,000 Parisian children enrolled in recreational centers and 250 classrooms a chance to take a balloon flight and attend a class on the balloon station. A second class was held in conjunction with the Social Action Centre, where 769 seniors were invited to take part in free flights.
It is important to emphasize the exemplary nature of the public-private partnership developed for the benefit of Parisians. Numerous stakeholders with recognized expertise were involved in the project: the Aérophile company and its industrial partners who produced the balloon; Airparif, the association in charge of monitoring the air and of the information given to Parisians; research institutions (CNRS); and GENERALI, which is committed to working on environmental issues and provided funding for this fantastic project.
We would also like to shine a light on the innovation solutions developed by various French startups and SMEs for this project and with which the City of Paris is proud to work.
Pursuant to the French law on air quality and the rational use of energy, AIRPARIF®, :
→ is an independent, non-profit association founded according to the law of 1901 that employs around 50 people
→ is certified by the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition to monitor air quality in the Ile-de-France region
→ has a board of directors with four committees of equal standing grouping together organizations that are concerned with air pollution:
- The French government
- Regional and departmental authorities
- Environmental and consumer protection associations as well as health and pollution experts
- Industrial stakeholders
Airparif was founded in 1979.
⇒MONITOR air quality using a system comprising three complementary resources: stations, measurement campaigns and modeling tools.
More than a dozen pollutants must be monitored in accordance with French and European regulations. In addition to these regulated pollutants, Airparif continually monitors sixty-some substances at its stations or as part of its measurement campaigns.
These campaigns aim to provide a detailed description and mapping:
- Of complex and problematic areas in terms of air pollution (the ring road in the vicinity of Porte de Bagnolet or Porte de Gentilly, airports, etc.)
- Of levels of air pollutants that are not yet regulated but which need to be tracked (pesticides, dioxins, etc.)
In addition to these tools, pollution sources in the Ile-de-France region and weather and topographical data are input into pollution modeling tools to:
- forecast air quality and pollution spikes
- create pollution distribution maps for the Ile-de-France region or a specific area
- evaluate the potential impact of pollution reduction plans that are undertaken or being considered by authorities
- evaluate pollution levels along 20,000 km of roads in the Paris area
⇒UNDERSTAND and ANALYZE pollution phenomena
⇒INFORM citizens, the media, government authorities and decision-makers. All information produced by the association is available on its website at www.airparif.asso.fr/en
⇒PARTICIPATE IN THE AIR POLLUTION ALERT SYSTEM in the event of spikes in pollution
⇒FORECAST and PUBLISH DATA on air quality every day
⇒EVALUATE strategies to fight air pollution that are implemented or considered by government authorities, such as the Air Protection Plan or the Regional Climate, Air and Energy Plan.
Le Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace (LPC2E) du CNRS
The LPC2E is a Joint Research Unit of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Université d’Orléans. It is reporting to the National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU) and is one of the founding laboratories of the Observatories of Sciences of the Universe (OSUC).
As one of the major French space labs, the LPC2E works in close partnership with the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) for the design, development and scientific exploitation of space instruments. The LPC2E’s research activities focus on four areas of space studies:
- Physics and chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere
- Physics and chemistry of planetary environments
- Space plasma physics
- Radio astronomy
The LPC2E creates instruments as required for its research. It also conducts studies in research and development, especially on electric and magnetic sensors and related electronics. It participates in the regional microelectronics platform.
The unit’s research activities are based on the development and operation of instruments on the ground (lab studies, large instruments), on board reduced-gravity aircraft and under balloons.
- 29 researchers and teacher-researchers
- 12 doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows
- 43 engineers, technicians and administrative personnel
The Aerophile Group
Created in 1993 by Jérôme GIACOMONI and Matthieu GOBBI, polytechnicians and bridge engineers, the AEROPHILE group designs, manufactures, sells or operates attractions for the general public, in particular large captive balloons but also the Aerobars. It operates the Parc du Petit Prince, an amusement park located in Alsace which it created in 2014. Since 2008, AEROPHILE has also been developing activities centered on the quality of the air with air quality balloons and an innovation to combat fine particle pollution, Para-PM.
AEROPHILE S.A.S. is the world leader in tethered balloons, with around a hundred balloons installed in nearly 40 countries. The AEROPHILE group also operates seven balloons directly: in France the Ballon de Paris Generali in the center of the capital, the PanoraMagique balloon at Disneyland Paris and the Ballon du Roi at the Parc du Petit Prince in Alsace; in the United States, AEROPHILE manages balloons in the Great Park near Los Angeles, Walt Disney World in Orlando and the San Diego Zoo; finally, in Cambodia, AEROPHILE operates a balloon on the famous site of the Angkor temples. The AEROPHILE group is thus the largest lighter-than-air carrier in the world with more than one million passengers per year.
AEROPHILE also took an early interest in the subject of atmospheric pollution. Since 2008, air quality balloons have been used to measure air pollution in cities and inform citizens in real time. In Paris, for example, beyond its tourist function, the Ballon de Paris Generali also serves as an instrument to measure the quality of the air in the capital. And after 10 years of research, the latest innovation from AEROPHILE, Para-PM, was launched in 2022. It is an air purifier that helps fight fine particle air pollution in outdoor or semi-open spaces. It purifies the air in many sensitive places such as subways, schoolyards, construction sites, underground car parks, etc. One of its applications, Aerophiltre, is street furniture, a depolluting shade which is like a veritable "fountain of clean air". This innovation was chosen in particular as part of the call for tenders from SOLIDEO (an olympic works delivery company) to purify the air in the J.O 2024's Athletes Square in Paris Saint-Denis.
For more information, go to www.aerophile.com