Makerspace
-
English
Workshop
Everyone
Community-Driven Air Quality Network Powered by LoRaWAN

Short thesis

Air pollution is a growing health issue implicated in 7 million global deaths and health conditions. In Ghana 17000 annual deaths have been reported. Air quality monitoring in Ghana covers limited geographical and temporal ranges, meaning human lives may be at risk.
The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate using low cost monitors to measure key pollutants over LoRaWAN to The Things Network, making data available to the public.

Description

Air pollution is a growing ecological health concern leading to 7 million deaths globally; 88% of these deaths were recorded in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in 2012 (WHO 2014). Poor air quality also contributes to the global burden of disease, implicated in respiratory conditions, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

In Ghana air pollution leads to nearly 17000 deaths annually. Air quality data is sparse due to logistical and financial constraints faced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The prime pollutants of public health concern are particulate matter (PM10 & PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Sulphur dioxide (SO2). The data scarcity means members of vulnerable groups such as asthmatics, the elderly, pregnant women and very young people, lack appropriate information to modify their behaviours, including when to go outdoors or choosing specific routes.

It is possible to leverage open source hardware, sensor technology, open data, and civic organisation to build a community air quality network. This will involve collecting air quality data using low-cost monitoring devices, aggregating and analysing the data, and publishing it through widely accessible platforms.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Design and develop low-cost air quality monitors to measure CO, PM2.5, PM10, and NO2, and noise
  • Establish a pilot air quality network

Methods

  1. Build low cost Arduino powered air quality monitors equipped with sensors for CO, PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and Noise Levels

  2. Write a program/code to collect data

  3. Send aggregated data over LoRaWAN.

  4. Visualize collected data

  5. Seed a discussion on more creative ways to work with data to assist policymakers and activists in the fight against air pollution

The workshop is an initiative of the proposed Air Quality Network to establish a framework of interdisciplinary collaboration could be developed for civic participatory problem-solving in African cities.