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What is air quality and how is it measured?

Did you know that lichens and some plants are able to measure air quality naturally? Known as bioindicators of air quality , these organisms grow and proliferate in environments where the air is of optimum quality. For this reason, it is common to observe that there are hardly any lichens and other bioindicators in the large cities and main urban centers of the planet, where air quality pollution has become a serious problem of increasing adversity

In this AgroCorrn article you will learn what air quality is and how it is measured , or what is the same as how air pollution is measured to know its levels, and you will find examples of air quality indices used in some of the large metropolis.

You may also be interested in: Why the air is polluted

What is air quality

From the study of air quality it is possible to know the composition and concentration of the multiple gases and particles that are dispersed in the atmosphere. These elements must be in a certain proportion to be able to comply with the optimal balance and quality of the air , that is, that which allows the healthy development of living beings in their habitat.

Various factors directly and indirectly affect said air quality, among which various meteorological variables stand out, such as temperature, humidity, winds, rainfall, solar radiation and atmospheric pressure, which condition dispersion and characteristic chemical reactions. of the elements present in the air. To expand this information, we recommend you read this other post on Why is air important for living beings .

In the next sections we will see how air quality is measured, both in outdoor and indoor environments.

How air quality is measured in cities

More and more cities include air quality monitoring systems as an environmental strategy to control and report on the state of air pollution in urban centers and surroundings.

These monitoring systems allow the air quality data collected to be directly supplied to the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS). Thus, records and inventories of the different sources and types of air pollutants are created , with the aim of maintaining effective air quality control programs. The main pollutants detected in air quality monitoring stations are usually:

  • Sulfur monoxide (SO).
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Ozone (O3).
  • Total suspended particles (PST).

How can I know the air quality of my city

In order to inform the population on a daily basis about the air quality of the cities in which they live, more and more metropolises are using air quality indices available for public consultation. Here are some examples of official networks of air quality monitors in charge of daily disseminating information on air quality and air pollution in large cities :

Image: Barcelona City Council, Qualitat de l’aire.

How to measure air quality at home

Did you know that people spend around 80-90% of our time indoors? And without a doubt, our houses are one of the main closed places in which we spend the most time, so having quality air inside is very important to prevent some diseases.

Generally, the presence of air pollutants in our homes depends as much on the activities we carry out inside (smoking, using chemical products, being exposed to humidity and allergens, etc.), as the predominant building materials and products and the quantity of atmospheric pollutants from outside that reach homes through ventilation or infiltration systems.

Currently, there are different devices capable of measuring and controlling air quality at home , among which the IoT and Nanoenvi IAQ models stand out. These sophisticated devices continuously monitor air quality in real time, alerting when it is necessary to ventilate the house and making it possible to control its sensors through mobile applications.

Consequences of air pollution

There is a negative relationship between air pollution and the effects on the health of people and the environment. Various clinical studies determine how being exposed to an excess of air pollutants on a daily basis has various health effects. Some of the consequences of air pollution for our health are:

  • Respiratory problems.
  • Increase in allergies.
  • Dermal problems and infections.
  • Heart diseases.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Cerebrovascular accidents.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

If you want to know more about this negative relationship between air pollution and our health, you can check out these other Green Ecology articles on Health problems caused by air pollution , which includes an infographic, and Air Pollution: causes, consequences and solutions .

Likewise, in alert and emergency situations due to atmospheric pollution , not only people are affected, but also other living beings that breathe the gases present in the polluted atmosphere.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is air quality and how is it measured , we recommend that you enter our Pollution category .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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