A new study has shown that low cost sensors and a new form of analysis can be used in certain “complex urban environments” to determine air quality and the implications for the surrounding areas.
Research undertaken by academics at the University of Birmingham “provides an important breakthrough towards the wider and more comprehensive use of source apportionment via low-cost techniques” and has been welcomed as a breakthrough by Syntegra which has long been a clean air champion.
However, the analysis also found that the low-cost sensors do not necessarily provide “the same level of accuracy and need sophisticated statistical analyses and calibration to provide reliable results”.
Francis Pope, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Birmingham and senior author of the paper, said: “Successful air quality management and control not only requires measurement of air pollution levels, but it also requires information on the sources and their relative importance. Without this critical, targeted information on pollution sources, it is difficult to plan and enact cost-effective control measures with which to reduce air pollution. Low-cost sensors already help in the measurement of air quality but there is still a major gap for source apportionment.
“This latest study showcases the combination of an elegant methodology for analysing real-time data from inexpensive sensors. It provides a potentially powerful solution for industry, local government and a whole host of other organisations to understand the air quality around them, and also provides a way forward to meet the government’s legal duty on air quality standards.”
Syntegra’s Director of Environmental Services, Mark Chapman, said: “We welcome any recommendations about testing and improving air quality.
“Too many areas endure dangerous levels of pollution which are harmful to health and need tackling.
“We will continue to champion clean air and support measures that help reduce pollutants in the atmosphere.”