The American University of Beirut, Nissan’s franchisee in Lebanon, Rymco Motors, and Banque Audi are testing the air to see how concentrated pollutants are in your average Beirut bumper-to-bumper traffic:

Studies here have shown air pollution levels are sometimes three times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization. But [Dr. Najat] Saliba didn’t just want to know how much fumes a driver fumes a driver might suck in stuck in traffic, she wanted to know the collective pollution from driving around the city.

So, with help from a few car companies, she got a van equipped with $75,000 worth of pollution monitoring equipment that will travel the streets for two hours, twice a day in heavy traffic.

And so began a study with an extremely long name, “Monitoring Particulate Matter Emissions During Traffic In Real Time On A Busy Street In Lebanon.”

To add a little more tech to the mix, you can (theoretically) track the van as it crawls through the streets of Lebanon either through its dedicated Facebook page or the Nissan Lebanon website. According to an AUB press release, the experiment started on December 10 however I couldn’t find the Facebook page and the only thing on the Nissan homepage is a link to Nissan’s preparations for the 2010 Beirut Marathon (which took place in November).

AUB research van to study pollution in a one-year project

AUB research van to study pollution in a one-year project