Saturday, 13 August 2016

We are building Canada's first low-cost, air quality monitoring network

The Gabriola Island Clean Air Society is building Canada's first distributed, low-cost, air quality monitoring network using citizen scientists. This technology comes from PurpleAir and it will help achieve the following objectives on our island. First, there is no air quality monitoring done on Gabriola Island on a regular basis. This equipment provides real-time, 24 hour data. Second, the network of monitors may help provide early warning to our fire department and other emergency responders regarding fire threats. Think of it like having smoke detectors in your home but in this case in your community. Third, a new proposal to create five anchorages for large ships off the shores of the island means that this network will provide baseline data on existing air quality plus track any changes resulting from ship activity. Fourth, the network will also allow us to understand more fully the relative contribution of off-island point sources of air pollution including an active pulp and paper operation in Nanaimo. Lastly, the network of sensors can help identify pollution hotspots from residential activities including illegal outdoor burning, garbage incineration, and hazardous domestic woodburning practices - all of which have an indisputable adverse impact on human health and the environment. We have two monitors operating currently and plan to have several more over time. Please contact us at gabriolacleanair@gmail.com for more information or if you would like to buy/host a monitor. You can see results from the monitors here