Air pollution isn’t going away any time soon
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 monitoring doesn’t give us good or actionable data
Current 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 of what air pollution really is anywhere except close to where it is being measured. And the growth of satellites hasn’t made any difference – their resolution is nowhere near good enough.
The results are at best unreliable and potentially misleading.
The solution is many more measurement points
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 transient hotspots, which can come and go in a matter of minutes. 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, be alerted to the dangers of pollution and avoid it, for governments to know how and where to take appropriate, effective action, for companies to properly track their pollution footprint, and for the health world to assess social determinants of health responsively, and better understand the correlation between localised air pollution and medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and the growth in asthma and dementia.