UN Habitat

Low Cost Sensors for Pollution Monitoring

Air quality data in many low and middle-income countries are difficult to acquire and manage. This is because the cost of regulatory grade instruments are prohibitive and equipment are difficult and costly to maintain. UN Environment has advocated for the use of low-cost sensors to fill the data gap and championed the development of an open source air quality monitoring device. UNEP's new air quality monitoring device can spark a data boom to help countries reduce the negative effects of air pollution, potentially saving lives that would have been lost due to air pollution-related illnesses. The device, capable of collecting all the vital parameters of air quality, will cost around $1,500 per unit, allowing governments to establish a countrywide network of mobile and stationary air monitoring stations for as little as $150,000-200,000 (currently, the same amount of money is necessary to set up just one monitoring station). This will allow governments and organizations to assemble or fabricate the units themselves, creating opportunities for innovation, enterprise development and green job creation.

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