Air pollution has a negative impact on health and the environment. At best, air pollution irritates the eyes and lowers brain function. At worst, it lowers life expectancy.
In metropolitan areas, air pollution can become visible. This visible pollution, or smog, kills plants by blocking sunlight. Plants suck carbon dioxide from the air. Fewer plants mean an overall poorer air quality. It also means wild animals have less to eat and fewer places to live, which creates another public health crisis when predators die off, leaving an explosion in the rodent population.
Even in large cities, ecosystems are a delicate balance.
Not Always Visible
Although smog can be seen as ugly grey or blown clouds obscuring a city’s skyline, air pollution is not always visible. Knowing air quality levels on any given day is important to make health-conscious decisions. Airly – Air Quality Map allows users to see a real-time map of the air quality in a specific area, as long as there’s a sensor in that area.
Air Quality Sensors
Air quality sensors record the air quality in a particular area by measuring the particles in the air. They also consider the weather. Wind can blow pollution away. Humidity can trap it at surface level, as can cold. Summer sunshine presents its own problems. Sunlight is a key ingredient in the creation of smog. An accurate real-time reading and prediction of air pollution levels can help people plan their day.
Air quality changes throughout the day. Rush hours have more cars on the road sending out exhaust fumes. It is important to know when air pollution peaks during the day so you can plan accordingly.
Pre-existing health problems can be triggered by air pollution. Asthma attacks can be triggered by poor air quality, as can COPD flare-ups. Air pollution may even be the root cause of an individual’s asthma. Even short-term exposure can lower brain function. Long-term exposure can reduce life expectancy.
Air pollution is an abstract concept for most. It is to associate something that can’t always be seen, especially in relatively smog-free areas, with health problems. Air quality sensors take what was invisible and turn into hyper-local data people can see. This brings awareness of the problem and what impact one person can make through a slight change of habits.
Hyper-local air quality sensors allow residents to monitor levels of pollution. This is especially essential in metropolitan areas where more cars are on the road to prevent or control plant-killing smog.
Seeing a report on the news doesn’t make it real for most people. With air quality sensors, people start to realise what impact their behaviour as individuals has on air quality. If enough people in a community stop driving short distances, air pollution can reduce significantly. Communities working together with real-time data may want to arrange carpools or campaign for better public transport links.
Air pollution is everyone’s responsibility.
Why Air Quality Sensors Should Be Used in Metropolitan Areas is a feature post