This is my first blog article! I want to explain a new and exciting project called AirCare. The goal of AirCare is to provide air quality data using a network of low cost air quality sensors around Whitefield, Bangalore. These sensors are hosted by citizens themselves but share data openly to benefit all.
Last year, at the request of my mentor, I worked with another student on a project to measure impurities in water. On that project, I worked only on the technical aspect of the solution, namely to develop an interface to capture/enter data related to the impurities in the water. Later, when I was discussing possible project options with my mentor, we naturally zeroed in on air pollution.
Whitefield, chokes in pollution
We live in Bangalore, India. Bangalore is the IT/tech capital of India, commonly referred to as the Silicon Valley of India. In recent years, Bangalore has seen a huge influx of people from other cities. There are the tech and back office workers hired by the multinationals of Europe and the US. Then there is the entire support economy that indirectly caters to these tech workers. A lot of this influx has been to an area called Whitefield, where I live.
Why is Whitefield polluted?
From a pollution perspective, the impact is twofold: Firstly, there are a lot more vehicles on the road, resulting in a huge increase in the amount of carbon fuel based particulate matters in the air. Secondly, the availability of land/space in the Whitefield area has also meant a tremendous construction boom. Buildings in India are made of brick, mortar and concrete. The construction activity and resultant debris/dust on the roads results in a lot of dust particles in the air. The problem can be extended to other parts of India as well.
What is AirCare and why should you care?
Respiratory problems are rampant. Regulation is non-existent. I am embarking on this project with the help of my mentor. We want to develop a low-cost way of measuring air pollution at various locations, capturing the data and providing tools to analyze the data so that some remediation could be achieved.
We are making our knowledge and software open source!
We are making the the hardware and software solutions open source. This will enable anyone in the world make a similar network of air quality sensors for their community.
In the future blogs, I will explain our journey covering technical and social aspects of the project.