After spending the entire month of April focusing on how technology can enhance and advance the efforts of keeping our planet clean, safe, and healthy, we are thrilled to finally be able to say – Happy Earth Day!
If you missed our last Earth Day blog post – Keeping Our Land Clean: Ways to Deter Illegal Dumping, an Expensive Yet Common Global Issue – you can catch up here.
The Rise in Air Pollution
Another global issue that needs further direct attention is air pollution. According to the State of Global Air, an annual comprehensive air pollution report, more than 6.6 billion people died in 2020 as a result of air pollution. Additionally, according to the American Lung Association, nearly half of Americans (150 million) are exposed to polluted air.
More attention has been paid to the growing concern of air pollution over the last several years. For example, record breaking spring and summer temperatures have caused an increase in the number and severity of forest fires, leaving cities and towns up and down the state of California to deal with stay-at-home and mask-mandated orders the past few years.
As more and more communities in the U.S. become affected with the degradation of their air quality, it’s up to city governments and its officials to protect their members and promote healthy living by implementing programs and initiatives that recognize and solve these issues. While air quality monitoring has historically been an area that U.S. cities and communities monitor, there now seems to be more immediacy as this global threat picks up steam.
Using Technology to Tackle Air Pollution
Technology can play a significant role in every community’s plans to address this growing threat. As the Internet of Things (IoT) has gained popularity and adoption over the last couple decades, the incorporation of hardware and software to gain intelligent insight into environments has been incredibly useful, and has helped drive real change for communities.
Here are three ways that technology can help improve how community managers deal with air pollution:
- Grow Data Collection from Multiple Geographical Locations – For compliance reasons, most cities only need to monitor air quality from one or two locations in their area. However, air pollution can range drastically in different areas of a community – even just a couple blocks away. With air quality sensors now technologically sound and affordable, communities can place them all around the city and continuously monitor the air quality levels and determine which areas are most affected. This provides a good starting point when starting at a macro level.
- Incorporate Air Quality Data for Other Uses – There are a variety of other sources that impact air quality – factories, power plants, large and small businesses, energy use, general human activity – that community-wide efforts in other areas can contribute to healthier air quality. Not only can air quality sensor data be used to determine other innovative features, but by having an infrastructure in place for IoT devices and data collection, communities can proactively monitor other resources that are actively utilized to promote a clean and safe community. For example, communities can greatly reduce their energy expenditure (which contributes to poor air quality) by using IoT with lighting, HVAC, waste management, and other critical systems. With continuous monitoring – whether that be through sensors, AI-enabled cameras, and/or GPS data, community leaders have the ability to greatly reduce our carbon footprint and limit the pollution in the air.
- Implement Programs that Encourage Eco-friendly Transportation – Gas emissions are one of the main drivers for air pollution. According to the EPA, about 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are a result of transportation. As a result, more and more communities across the country, as well as large cities, are bringing bike-sharing programs to their area. These are usually low monthly fees, with locations for pick-up/drop-off convenient to popular areas. Additionally, popularized by the state of California, more states around the country are offering tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles instead of gas-powered.
To learn more about how your community can benefit from an air quality monitoring solution, please visit our Safer Community page, schedule a quick demo, or connect with an IntelliSite expert to get started today!