Guy Wants to Deliver 100 Networked Pollution Monitors to Poor Countries

If you remember uRadMonitor – it’s had a fair amount of success in its last campaign. Now, creator Radu Motisan wants to deliver 100 pollution detectors to poor countries worldwide, while you also get one.

When you install the right Air Quality measuring equipment fitted with sensors for sampling stations in selected locations, you get uRADMonitor’s measuring network.  Working for this is the IoT (Internet of Things), which provides the channel for these devices to transmit data from more than 40 countries to produce uniform and comparable environmental data. The analysis of such data helps us understand the levels of air pollution at a greater scale, and the entire uRADMonitor effort fights to solve pollution at a global level.

The IndieGoGo project has received great community support up till now, of which the first funded IndieGoGo campaign and the uRADMonitor adopters have helped create a global Air Quality monitoring network 800 units in size.  Also, the commendable efforts of the visionary people involved in responsible corporations have helped bring forwards these great results.

The role of the uRADMonitor is to help compose a global picture of air pollution through the generation of reliable and timely data, therefore providing the first step in its resolution. Air Quality has a direct impact on the health and the environment, and I am personally committed to building something that matters, ergo the uRADMonitor.

The uRADMonitor A3

As the project unfolds new product development has been attained.  The uRADMonitor A3 is probably the best such product so far, incorporating a greater number of high-quality sensors selected after intense research and testing.  These showed impressive reliability during operation.  Each A3 measures 8 air parameters with a significant effect on our health and the environment: temperature, pressure, humidity, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, particulate matter PM2.5 and ionizing radiation. See complete specs in the technical datasheet.

There are four different kinds of devices with the same number of connectivity options, which makes it easier for deployment and installation at homes, offices or cities.  They all have the same sensors and for connectivity include Ethernet, WiFi, GSM, and LoRaWAN.

Mr. Motisan explained on the project’s webpage, “..for this campaign I am offering the A3 with Ethernet and the A3 with Wifi, you can choose any”.

uRADMonitor`s configured network was supported by Orange Romania and facilitated the deployment of nearly one hundred A3 units in five Romanian cities. The devices were installed in public transportation, in smart busses equipped with mobile Internet connectivity, which facilitates the mapping of air pollution sources in large city areas. This resulted in valuable air quality data, with an impact on more than 3 million people living there.

Hazards to human health and the environment

A3`s sensors were selected to monitor an extended list of hazardous pollutants measurable both indoors and outdoors, such as:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may be responsible for a variety of respiratory conditions, allergic and immunological effects on children.   VOCs intervene in the formation of smog and can cause irritation of eyes, nose, and throats. In extreme circumstances, more severe complications can occur, such as damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system or cancer. 
  • Particulate matter – PM2.5, which refers to small particles with a diameter up to 2.5 microns. They can reach deep into the lungs, causing allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.  The A3 method of detection includes a high-quality laser scattering sensor. More details on health effects here.
  • Ionizing radiation (IR) can damage cells of living organisms resulting in multiple disorders with cancer as the most common. IR occurs naturally from cosmic rays and terrestrial sources, although it can originate from nuclear activities or x-ray devices. 
  • Formaldehyde is a toxic colorless gas with a pungent smell, that results from the burning of carbon-based materials. It can be found in forest fires, in automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke. It is an allergenic and a known carcinogenic compound that can cause serious health effects, depending on concentration and exposure. Even in tiny quantities just it can irritate the eyes and nose and can worsen asthma symptoms. 
  • Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. In small quantities of up to 5000ppm (0.5% ) it can cause headaches, lethargy, slowing of intellectual ability, irritability, sleep disturbance. In larger quantities can cause dizziness, loss of sight, hearing or knowledge.

Poverty, pollution and many health issues

As everything aiming to build a network seems to be working its way up, an issue appears: The network distribution is not uniform, with a predominant presence in more developed countries. In general, there are sustained efforts economically to limit impacts to human health; however, such efforts exclude traffic and industry. On the other hand, less developed areas are lacking proper regulations and pollution controls. So, as it can be expected the uRADMonitor network is almost nonexistent here due to reasons unrelated to awareness and will, but rather to costs.

Air contamination precipitated the death of half a million people in 2014, according to a report on air quality from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark: “Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe,” says the EEA.

Leading the stats as the cause of premature deaths is particulate matter under 2.5 microns or PM2.5, claiming an astonishing 428.000 victims across 41 European countries monitored during 2014. The main source, contributing 57 percent of PM2.5 emissions in 2015, was domestic wood burning, especially in eastern Europe.

Air pollution contributes to a number of ailments such as respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and abnormal pregnancy and brain development in children.

Here’s the Indiegogo page where you can do a good deed for poor people’s air.

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