With the advent of accurate and reliable low-cost air sensors, economically developing countries experiencing the detrimental human, environmental, and economic impacts of air pollution can establish comprehensive air quality monitoring networks for the first time. Air quality managers in these regions can bypass the traditional notion that air quality data must come exclusively from federal reference method (FRM) or federal equivalent method (FEM) equipment to be useful. Adopting hybrid Air Quality Monitoring 2.0 networks that leverage data from both FRM & FEM equipment and properly-calibrated low-cost sensors allows them to leverage the low costs, high-resolution data coverage, and flexible network design offered by low-cost air sensors to rapidly and cost-effectively establish precisely-located air quality monitoring networks.
Climate change and air pollution both threaten human, environmental, and economic health across the globe, but the relationship between these two crises runs much deeper than initially meets the eye. Recent research has demonstrated a synergistic relationship between air pollution reduction and climate change mitigation. Predictive models of the economic benefits that come with environmental policy find that the co-benefits of improved air quality alone often justify the cost of climate change mitigation programs, even before the climate-related and other benefits of these policies are considered. This finding opens up an incredible opportunity to push for improved environmental policy and action against a rapidly changing climate, with air quality co-benefits providing the local, immediate, and measurable benefits that politicians need to make the business case for climate action.

Air pollution is an “invisible threat” that most people don’t consider in their day-to-day lives, yet it is an issue that affects people around the world in substantial ways. Air pollution can greatly impact the human respiratory system as well as the nervous system, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs, and it accounts for an estimated 7 million deaths per year. Environmental effects of poor air quality may manifest in ecosystem damage, reduction of crop yield, acid rain, and exacerbation of climate change through the release of pollutants like carbon dioxide.

Many individuals and the media tend to focus on air quality only when it becomes exceptionally poor, such as during wildfires, but the benefits of improved air quality can be reaped year-round. To further explore the vast impact that air quality has on human and environmental health, particularly coupled with the impacts of a changing climate, check out our blog on the relationship between air pollution and climate change