I came across this interesting initiative to help raise awareness on air pollution in the city of Edmonton, Alberta.
In response to the poor air quality (in particular, during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 winters when calm wins and a temperature inversion trapped air pollutants in the city) in Edmonton, Alberta Capital Airshed (a provincial industry and environmental advisory group) are partnering with city authorities to make portable and personal air quality monitors for citizens in the city by making use of crowd-mapping software with the help of HabitatMap. This is done with the aim of raising awareness about the dangers of poor air quality which residents may not be aware of, such as that of PM2.5 which are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
How the monitors work is that participants will bring their monitors along, and the monitors will take in data which will be uploaded real-time to an online map that is available to the public. These monitors measures the amount of PM2.5 in the air by running a small stream of air past an infrared LED light. A small sensor located in the device measures how much light is scattered by the PM2.5 particles in order to detect the PM2.5 concentrations in the air.
Here is a picture of the monitor!
Slote, E. (2015) New air quality gadgets demystify pollution. Edmonton Journal [Online] Retrieved from: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/quality+gadgets+demystify+pollution/10830951/story.html [Last accessed: 21 March 2015]