Pigeons are being transformed from urban pests to airborne eco warriors with the help of some miniature high-tech backpacks.

As part of a new initiative to monitor air quality, 10 racing pigeons are being deployed to the skies of London equipped with pollution sensors.

The Pigeon Air Patrol campaign, launched by French technology firm Plume Labs, runs from March 14 to March 16 and allows residents to find out about pollution levels in their area by tweeting their location to the pigeons.

The 25g backpacks worn by the flock of pigeons measure nitrogen dioxide levels produced by the city cars, buses and trucks.

Putting air sensors on the back of pigeons goes beyond raising awareness of this problem and helps Londoners understand the impact of pollution in an accessible, tangible and immediate way.

The Pigeon Air Patrol is a perfect example of how data combined with creative storytelling can raise awareness of a serious health and environmental issue.