The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 31 August 2015 unveiled a low-cost device to monitor air quality in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. It costs around 1500 US dollars per unit.
It is a low-cost device in the sense that it is expected to cost up to 100 times less than existing solutions.
Key features of the monitoring device
• It is capable of collecting all the vital parameters of air quality.
• It has built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) that enables it to connect to the UNEP Live platform that monitors air quality from 2000 stations located across the world on real-time basis.
• It can measure the concentration of particulate matter ranging from 1 to 10 microns in diameter (PM 1 - PM 10), including PM 2.5, considered by the WHO to have the greatest effect on human health.
• It also records the concentration of sulphur and nitrogen oxides and can be extended to measure other gases such as ozone.
Importance of the device
Each year, air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths around the world, with outdoor pollution responsible for more than half of that total.
Further, around 88 percent of deaths related to outdoor pollution occur in low- and middle-income countries that lack basic infrastructure related to air quality monitoring that are mostly preventable.
Hence, the device is expected to play a pivotal role in generating environment related data that will be helpful to policymakers and pubic in general in improving air quality.
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What: Unveiled by the UNEP
When: 31 August 2015