What is Air Quality Monitoring?
Air Quality Monitoring is an exercise to measure ambient air pollution levels. The data received from ambient sensors indicates the status of the quality of the air we breathe, and this is why air quality monitoring using IoT is done which can be accessible to every human being to check the quality of the air they breathe.
The data, over the long term, allow us to tease out patterns that help to find spatial differences as well as temporal differences in pollution.
The spatial difference is to find out the areas of the city which are more polluted and the temporal difference is to find out the pattern of pollution levels during the day and/or over the seasons.
So, Air pollution monitoring itself does not reduce pollution, however, it gives us clues on how much is pollution and its spatial and temporal differences.
Why is Monitoring of air required?
According to WHO, around 90% of the world’s population breathes harmful air coming from the industries burning fossil fuels, conducting chemical processes, mixing and drilling in mines and tunnels which leads to 7 million deaths per year. These industries emit a large number of toxic gases like Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Methane, Sulphur Dioxide, etc. and inhaling these gases can cause serious health hazards. Since all of this leads to poor air quality, it is important to monitor the gases around us and IoT-based smart monitoring helps in accessing toxic and flammable gases proportion in the air.
IoT Enabled Air Quality Monitoring
The IoT-based air pollution monitoring system is developed using sensors and microcontrollers. A sensor network to collect data on air quality is created. The microcontrollers are programmed to take the sensors as input and transmit the data to the cloud. An algorithm is developed to analyze the data and send it to the Mobile application or an IoT dashboard. A smartphone app will be developed for users to access air quality information in real-time.
IoT-Based Air Quality Monitoring System consists of electrochemical sensors which monitor the constituents which result in pollution like aerosol, VOC, CO, CO2, and temperature-humidity and will trigger an alarm when the air quality goes down beyond a certain level, which means when there are number of harmful gases present in the air. The system shows the air quality in PPM on the display or the web page or in the mobile application, so that it can be monitored very easily.
Analysis of collected data
The data of all the gas sensors used for measuring gases in the air is fed to the microcontroller for analysis, and it results in the Pollution level in PPM (parts per million). Gas sensors give the output in the form of voltage levels, using Analog-to-Digital conversion the digital data is outputted. The data fetched is sent to the server using wifi or cellular network or any other LPWAN protocol. The sensors make use of LoRa too, a low-powered wireless solution. IoT Dashboards, web apps or mobile applications read the data from the database and create data visuals for the user.
Mobile Air Quality Monitoring
Cities today use fixed air quality monitoring stations to measure pollution levels throughout the city, while these can give extremely high levels of accuracy, they have high prices as well and it makes it difficult for the authorities to achieve coverage in the whole city.
To solve this problem, IoT Technology with mobile air quality monitoring reduces the cost, increases coverage and provides more flexibility as compared to traditional air quality monitors. These air quality monitors, rather than measuring gases in parts-per-million, provide the information in the lines of a traffic light system- red- harmful, amber- warning, green- good. Though they don’t provide the exact number, the sensors are quite accurate for a fraction of the price of fixed stations.
Local authorities can easily access the air quality across vast areas of land. While it cannot deliver lab-grade results, the sensors can provide a fairly good indication of the air quality of a large area. This result can be stored with time stamps and large data can be analysed for a particular area and policies can be made for places that consistently have a poor air quality index.
Benefits of IoT Enabled Air Quality monitoring
- Better monitoring and information that impacts regulations of air quality control.
- Better planning in placements of hospitals in areas with low air quality for better treatment of sick patients.
- Empower the city residents to make more informed decisions that can limit their exposure to harmful gases.
- Planning of industrial areas, so that they are not concentrated in one place and release harmful gases.
It is surprising to believe that oxygen in a city like Noida is not 21% (we are reading this since our school days), It is around 19% when measured through electrochemical sensors, which in itself is almost 9.5% lesser than the ideal air which we should breathe.
In conclusion, the use of IoT enhances the process of monitoring various aspects of the environment such as air quality monitoring, indoor air monitoring, the number of specific gases in the air etc, which anyone can view with a single click.
We, at PsiBorg, have built various solutions for environmental monitoring, if you are looking for a partner to help you in building your concept into a product, then you can get in touch with us for all your related queries.