/ Measuring air pollution by busy road

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Martin Hore - on 16 Apr 2019

This is well off-topic for a climbing forum but I note that others have asked similarly off-topic questions here before and received really helpful and informed replies.

We live by a busy main road. The house is set back around 10m from the road. The noise doesn't normally trouble us too much but I'm increasingly concerned about air pollution. We're currently contemplating some major home improvements (or possibly moving elsewhere - but we like it where we are and need to live near public transport and amenities). I'm keen to find out if the air we breath in the house is significantly polluted - nitrogen oxides and particulates especially. 

Does anyone know if it's possible to get the air quality metered, either by buying or renting a suitable metering device, or getting someone in to make measurements? I've had a good look on the web and found nothing very helpful so far.

Any pointers welcome. Many thanks

Martin

galpinos on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

One of members of a local advocacy group has purchased parts as indicted by this website:

https://luftdaten.info/en/home-en/

The shopping list option here points you to the bits and where you can get them:

https://luftdaten.info/en/construction-manual/#feinstaubsensor-komponenten

It cost him ~£25 for the bits.

syv_k - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

We are in a similar situation. We have bought a Purple Air sensor and stuck it outside our house. They all appear on a map on their website. This is useful for advocacy as they are ‘official’ and also good for personal checks as it may be that your neighbour has one already, saving you the cash, and my partner can plan her trips to built up areas for days when the sensors there are reporting low. She is severely asthmatic, and the correlation between the values and her coughing fits has confirmed that we really do need to move.

We are also playing around with a raspberry pi and a bunch of sensors for portable measurement.

Timmd on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

Have a bump. 

Yanis Nayu - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

The Local Authority (Environmental Health) will be monitoring - you could ask if they’ve got any monitoring points near your house and ask what the results are. 

Timmd on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to syv_k:

Could you and your partner look into what you could plant in any garden space you have in the meantime before your move house?

I remember something on Gardner's Question Time about the different that can make. 

syv_k - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Timmd:

A while back we got some spider plants for the bedroom. These reduce the formaldehyde levels which are a major part of the volatile organic compounds in the air... unfortunately my partner’s problems seem to be caused more by particulates (PM2.5s) than VOCs. The best reduction we can make is windows closed and air purifier on in the bedroom. Levels currently 10 in the bedroom, 20 in the rest of the house,  120 outside which is orange on the scale, meaning sensitive folk may encounter ill effects. The EU limit is an annual average of 25. 

Martin Hore - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

Many thanks everyone for your helpful replies which I will follow up. 

In reply to Yanis, yes, the local Council do have monitoring devices at points in the worst affected areas, one of which is at a busy crossroads 300m from our house. The roadside readings there are close to or above the EU permitted levels, but there are buildings close to the road there, and a lot of stationary traffic. I doubt it's as bad where we are, but it would be good to know. The monitoring devices they use are very simple, but they take a year's worth of data and then have to be analysed (I presume in a laboratory).

Thanks again

Martin


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