Citizen environmental investigators imminent

Personal air quality monitoring devices will soon be on the market and may already be here. For industries that emit air contaminants this means that the quite common reductions in government monitoring will soon be replaced, likely at much larger scale, by social monitoring. Local residents and ordinary citizens may soon be patrolling the boundaries of your plant, reporting in real time to other citizens, social media, and the regular media on air emissions which appear to come from your plant.

One such citizen air quality monitoring device is called Netatmo Weather Station, sells for $179, and connects to an IPhone or Ipad for storage, analysis, and transmission of data to web sites and email addresses.  In addition to temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity the Netatmo also claims to measure carbon dioxide concentration and air quality.

It will not take much of a leap in monitoring technology for devices like the Netatmo to add monitoring of particulates, volatile organics, and toxic air contaminants. As that technology becomes available it is very likely that citizens will use it to level charges of pollution against local industries which they see as having a negative impact on the neighbourhood. It is not too early for emitting industries to plan their response: GallonDaily suggests increased transparency with respect to air emissions, improved community liaison, and real reductions in emissions.

GallonDaily has done no evaluation of the Netatmo and has no knowledge of its reliability or of the air quality parameters that are measured. It is mentioned here only to illustrate the type of personal air quality monitor that we expect to come to market in the coming months.

More about the Netatmo Personal Weather Station at http://www.netatmo.com/

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