The last few months and due to the lack of rain and the climate change some places in the world are facing extreme wildfires, most of the times manmade. Places like Galicia-Spain, Portugal and California-USA have been facing a great danger. The wildlife has been left without its habitat and humans without clean air. Unfortunately this kind of distraction creates enormous quantities of air pollution. A lot of times the air pollution spreads downwind from the fire source and even reaches other countries, so-called Cross Border pollution.
What kind of pollutants do the wildfires produce?
Mainly wood smoke contains a mixture of PM2.5, PM10 particles and various gases. More precisely wildfire smoke is a mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds VOCs and a wide rage of particulate matter PMs that include ash, black carbon BC and organic carbon, such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons PAHs.
The smoke is a very complicated mixture of pollutants in the air, and it affects human health. It comes from lots of different sources, including trees, decomposed leaves, animals, forest litter and sometimes from local houses. Even the composition of the air pollution is depending on the way the smoke is created, for example by smouldering or flaming.
How to protect yourselves?
If you live close to a forest then ask your local authorities how you can help to protect the Earth’s lungs. If you happen to be near a wildfire/forest fire then remember to wear a N95 or N99 face mask. Don’t expose yourself in the smoke for a long time, even the face masks have a limit. If you live near an ongoing wildfire, close the windows and seal your house from the outdoor air. Stay away from your house for a few days, ask a family member who lives far away from the fire to host you.
I can’t stand reading or watching on TV news regarding wildfires. The damage is huge especially when humans are responsable for them. My heart breaks every time. Please respect the environment. Thank you.
The new version offers a low cost housing and the software is more mature now. The software is open source, on github, and there are some pre-built images on their website.
A great new feature is the ability to store of a few days of data on the device which makes it more robust to internet outages and usable for periods away from wifi access, and it records every sample from the PMS5003 sensor which is more that one per second to better capture quick changes and better for mapping walking around.
You can find all the instructions on their website.
Why am I in favour of air quality sensors and I support all AQI monitors and sensors independently their price tag?
Because they help us literally See the Air. They are the only tools we can use to get hard evidence that air pollution exists and raise awareness. Someone could say that inaccurate and probably cheap sensors are useless and I will agree in some level but you have to keep in mind that not everyone can afford a +1000$ sensor. Those “cheap” sensors will allow people to discover what they breathe in some level, act on it and will make them more conscious about the pollution. I truly believe that sensors will shape future societies.
Sometimes when I talk to people about air pollution some of them don’t seem to understand that air pollution exists. They have never thought that the black smoke exiting a car is a harmful pollution. They have never thought that lighting the fireplace for a “cosy” moment has effects and consequences. They have never thought that air pollution is everywhere and can affect everyone.
When evidences are presented, people start to think and wonder. A fundamental action which distinguish humans from animals. At that moment people make a huge difference as human beings and the Oxygen that is consumed by them is not a waste. Education is the key to a better future.
On this article I am going to compare three AQI monitors: AirVisual, uHoo and Awair.
All the monitors were placed together in the guest room in my house, as you can see on the picture above. I chose that room because I wanted to be able to isolate the devices from the rest of the house and from human interaction especially for the first 21 measurements. No one was allowed in that room during those measurements. After those 21 random measurements which were taken during 4 days period of time I opened the door and I created some “air pollution”. The whole experiment lasted 10 days. Below you can see the graphs with all the sensors and monitors.
We breathe around 11,000 liters / 388 cubic feet of air in a day.
-How much oxygen an average human breathe?
We breathe 550 liters / 19 cubic feet of Oxygen per day.
-How much oxygen does a house plant produce?
A typical houseplant leaf produces about 5 ml of oxygen per hour (more when it is growing, less when carbon dioxide levels are higher, that is, the more oxygen you breathe in and carbon dioxide you breathe out, the less oxygen plants make, less at night).
-How much carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees?
A tree can absorb as much as 22Kg of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 45 years old.
-What plants give off the most oxygen?
Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
-Which trees absorb the most carbon dioxide?
Pine (Ponderosa, red, white and Hispaniolan pines)
Oake (Scarlet, Red and Virginia Live Oak)
-How many plants should you have in your house?
The NASA studies on indoor pollution done in 1989 recommends 15 to 18 plants in 6 to 8-inch- diameter pots to clean the air in an average 1,800Ft²/167m². That’s roughly one plant per 100Ft²/9,2m² of floor space.
-How many plants are needed for a human to survive in an isolated room?
Scientists estimate a safe oxygen consumption of 50 liters per hour for a human. Meanwhile, a leaf gives off about 5 millilitres of oxygen per hour. A person would need to be in a room with about ten thousand leaves. About 300 to 500 plants would produce the right amount of oxygen, but it’s much harder to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide the plants absorb, especially if every time a person breathes out, they inhibit oxygen production. To be safe, don’t get into an airlock room without bringing about seven hundred potted plants with you.
Years of experience and personal research made me write and design this straightforward guide-book about air pollution. All the crucial information are inside this book, see the air you breathe today. Available on Paperback and Digital.
Nicholas is a Scottish boy who willhelp your kids understand better what Air Pollution is and what they need to do to combat it. Through his empowering story he will teach them how to be more sustainable and thoughtful with the environment. Available on Paperback, Digital and Limited Edition Hardcover.
I am proud to announce my second book “Nicholas and his incredible eyesight” which is my second attempt to raise awareness on air pollution and this time by educating the youth.
The book is for all kids, the story is full of lovely and colourful drawings and at the end of the book the kids will have the opportunity to do some fun activities.
Synopsis of the story
Nicholas is a Scottish boy who lives in a small beautiful town in Scotland. He has to move with his family to London for a while. There and with the help of his teacher he will discover his unique super power.
The book is available on digital and paperback formats through the following stores:
If you are interested in a (Limited Edition) HardCover copy of my new book, please Contact me or Tweet me for more details.