THE AIR QUALITY PROBLEM
Air pollution shortens the lives of more than 40,000 people in the UK alone. Pollution is the greatest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Air pollution is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to have caused over 6.5 million, or 11%, of all deaths worldwide - more than twice the deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, and ten times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. The WHO has estimated that pollution-related diseases cause productivity losses and result in healthcare costs that are responsible for 1·7% of annual health spending in high-income countries.
Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths world wide. Up to 1/3 of deaths from strokes, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution.
Air pollution across the U.K. is linked to around 40,000 early deaths each year, and is draining 20 billion pounds ($27.5 billion) a year from the economy in health costs alone.
“We are working with a number of governments and donor agencies...on pollution and health...and their initial response is ‘we’re not sure how big a problem this is – Where is the data?”Rich Fuller, founder and president of the non-profit Pure Earth Co-chair, the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, October 2017
“Of all the different risk factors for premature deaths, this is one area, the air we breathe, over which individuals have little control. Policy makers in health and environment agencies, as well as leaders in various industries, are facing growing demands – and expectations – to address this problem.”Dr Chris Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
“Air pollution is a challenge that threatens basic human welfare, damages natural and physical capital, and constrains economic growth. By supporting healthier cities and investments in cleaner sources of energy, we can reduce dangerous emissions, slow climate change, and most importantly save lives”Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank
WHY DO WE NEED HYPERLOCAL MONITORING?
Dealing with air pollution is expected to take many years but before effective action can be taken, the right data is needed to equip individuals, companies and local authorities with the knowledge they need to take better decisions to reduce and manage exposure to air pollution.
Current global monitoring is not fit for that purpose, with limited numbers of sensors across key global cities that are used for statutory reporting, not for dynamic decision making; London for instance has only 15 sensors continuously measuring PM2.5.
The mathematical models based on such a small number of measurement points have no real idea what air pollution really is anywhere except close to where it is being measured.
The results are at best unreliable and potentially misleading.
Air pollution needs to be measured on a much more localised basis, using thousands of sensors, to provide continuous and real-time pollution data, particularly about hot spots, which can come and go quickly. London, for example, will have a mesh of at least 5,000 AirSensa units.
The data collected is needed for individuals to be able to understand and avoid pollution, for governments to know how and where to take appropriate, effective action, and for the health world to assess the correlation between localised air pollution and medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and the growth in asthma and dementia.
The AirSensa solution is to build urban sensor meshes comprising hundreds or thousands of relatively low-cost sensors installed across urban areas, connected to our highly scalable STORRM software platform collecting real-time, granular, continuous readings that lead to much more accurate mapping of pollution, including real-time identification of ‘hot spots’.
AirSensa has over the past five years developed a deep understanding of high quality sensor technologies and the development, manufacture, urban survivability and connectivity of such units.
VALIDATED DATA DELIVERY
The meshes deliver data which is stored in a private blockchain and processed for data analytics. Data can be made available on a real time basis, and can be processed into multiple products – historic pictures as well as forward-looking forecasts and projections using AI technology.
Once our proprietary data is validated by our scientific and academic partners – for example, the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany – there are myriad uses for it, but the key is to ensure that for the first time, real-time continuous data gives consumers and policy-makers the insights they need to take sensible and timely action.
Nitrogen Dioxide and Ozone are two of the key pollutant gases which are controlled by legislation. Legal limits are 40µg/m3 average for NO2 over the course of a year, and 120µg/m3 for Ozone average over an 8-hour period. All data is sourced from one of our v3 units running in Southampton.
PM2.5 is small particulate matter that can cause a range of health impacts, including cancer. The legal limit is defined as 25µg/m3 average over a year, although the WHO insists there is no safe limit for human health. All data is sourced from one of our v3 units running in Southampton.