Air pollution crisis: How can IoT tackle this?

28/09/2021 20mins
Phani Kumar S


It is obvious that air pollution is a major threat, as it has been seen in the air pollution crisis in Delhi, India lately. Most of the people are unaware of the fact that air pollution is the fourth biggest health risk, that can be extremely fatal.

Most of the cities in India today, have a very poor atmospheric quality which leads to diseases such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, and a lot more.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are around 20 million patients of asthma in India alone. One of the biggest challenges that most countries face, when it comes to air quality control, is a lack of proper monitoring. Without understanding the extent of the pollution, it is very difficult to figure out the ways in which it can be controlled.

Quite surprisingly, we can make use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to tackle this problem. Today, the LPWA (low-power wide area) networks allow the development of cheap and portable sensors. These sensors then get attached to public benches, streetlights, and people in order to measure the quality of air with great accuracy and precision.

These readings then get crunched on the basis of analytics, and data sets including traffic volume. This adds up the layers, and eventually, the air quality levels are understood. These air quality levels have a direct association with the poor quality of air.

As a result of this, governments all over the world are investing heavily in Internet of Things architecture in order to reduce the problem of air pollution. For instance, China Mobile was reached out by Chongqing, in order to figure out how air monitoring can be improved via connected sensors.

In South Korea, for instance, the government has launched a project called the ‘Air Map Korea Project’ which primarily logs data through monitors that are installed on about 4.5 million telephonic poles, 60000 public phones, 4000 central offices, and 330000 mobile stations. These sensors primarily measure the volatile organic compounds, humidity levels, noise, and fine particles of dust in the air. In combination with IoT, these sensors can fully transform the cities into safer spaces with a better quality of air.

India, however, is yet to take benefit from such technological advancement. Well, once it arrives, IoT technology can also be used on a personal level. After all, air quality data is not available from the government at all times. Personally, users can also check the quality of air in their immediate locality.

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This simply suggests that pollution can quite easily be combated via IoT. Data gathered from 100000 of users along with sensors installed in multiple locations will prove to be quite valuable in this fight for better air quality.

Considering the scale of the air pollution problem, along with the great potential of the Internet of Things, it won’t really take long before such solutions become widespread.


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