Walking Summit 2024

On March 7th 2024, SEM founder and CEO Maxwell Ayamba BEM, was invited to lead a walk as part of the 2024 UK Walking Summit conference.

Workshop attendees look at the different types of Lichens growing on a tree branche. Photo Courtesy of Sam Wakeling @Living Streets.

Supported by Jenson Grant from SEM, Mawell took a group of conference attendees on a 60 minute walk that began at the conference venue and went along some of the city centres’ most congested roads. Attendees used citizen science air quality investigation methods to look for lichens growing on tree bark, which are indicators of air pollution. Trees that have large numbers of Nitrogen insensetive Lichens on their bark indicate that they may be growing in areas with high levels of air pollution.

Maxwell said; “SEM’s work using the Imperial College’s Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) is innovative and impactful in the sense that, unlike Sheffield City Council stationing air monitoring diffusion tubes to monitor the impact of air pollution in communities by taking readings however, this data is not visually shared and therefore difficult to evidence and communicate to educate communities in these polluted zones. However, in the case of SEM applying OPAL Explore Nature Air Quality Survey using natural indicators such as nitrogen-loving lichens it is able to demonstrate the impact of air pollution visually in the most polluted zone across the city”.

An Ash tree near Park Hill flats is covered in Nitrogen insensetive Lichen. Photo Courtesy of Sam Wakeling @Living Streets.
Workshop attendees with SEM CEO Maxwell Ayamba BEM, & Jenson Grant. Photo Courtesy of Sam Wakeling @Living Streets.

Living Streets is a UK based environmental charity whose mission is to: “achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to walk more.” Visit Living Streets UK to find out more about their work.