Start your project today+48-512-084-372

Air pollution control using IoT

Air pollution control using IoT

Air pollution is a growing local and global problem. In many parts of Europe, the standards set out in legal regulations are often exceeded. The main cause of air pollution is the emission of dust and gas pollutants from stationary industrial sources (industrial plants, metallurgy) and communal (home furnaces, sewage, waste). Air pollution in cities comes mainly from transport and communication with the so-called low emission, the source of which are home furnaces, boiler stoves and other heating installations, which use, among others, coal, fine coal and even waste.

The given sources of pollution determine the formation of dust and chemical compounds included in smog, which is not rare in cities. The most common dust and gas pollutants and their impact on human health are presented in fot. 1.

Fot. 1 Main dust and gas pollutants and their impact on human health

Using the concept of “air quality“, we take into account the chemical composition of the air at a height of about 2 meters, we analyze the content of harmful substances in the air, and in the case of compounds that are constantly present in the air – also their level, exceeding which may be harmful.

In order to determine the level of air pollution, the AQI (Air Quality Index) scale is used. The scale interpretation is quick and easy: the higher the index – the more polluted the air, the lower the index – the lower the air pollution. In addition, AQI uses color indicators that inform us about the quality of the air we breathe. Air quality measurements on the AQI scale are widely used and we can find them on interactive boards in the city center, in public transport, applications and smog maps, and even on air purifier panels. The air quality index is calculated differently depending on the area. In places with a high degree of air pollution, such as Poland or Asia, the standards are less restrictive, therefore it is recommended to use American or European standards that are closer to the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The tables below shows: The 6-degree European scale of air quality (foto 2) and comparing the value range for PM 2,5 in United States, Poland and China (tab. 1).

Fot. 2 The 6-degree European scale of air quality
Air quality level US PL CN
very poor
extremely poor

Tab. 1 AQI table- American, Polish and Chinese standards
(based on pollutant concentrations in PM 2,5 μg/m3)

The largest source of information on air quality is state stations and measurement points. Their most important task is to ensure high-quality air measurements. The obtained measurement results are made available to the public, inter alia, via websites. Although the data obtained at stations and measuring points is very reliable, the construction of such stations is very expensive and takes up a lot of space. Therefore, more and more often air quality testing is shifting from stationary devices to mobile devices using IoT technology.

Fot. 3 Air quality state station in Polkowice
Data obtained from IoT devices provides reliable information on air quality in real time, and also make it easier to locate sources of pollution. Intelligent sensors based on the Internet of Things technology are a cheaper alternative to building measuring stations. Remotely managed sensors can perform an information and verification function. Thanks to such sensors, it is possible to determine the current air quality, locate sources of pollution or obtain weather information, such as temperature, pressure, wind force.   Interactive air quality maps and mobile applications that allow you to check the current air quality and plan, for example, physical activity in the open air, are becoming more and more popular. An increasingly widely used network of sensors, using special machine learning algorithms, allows not only to monitor the current state of the air, but also to warn about an increase in pollution. Data collected from IoT devices are highly reliable – measurement differences between state reference sensors and IoT devices vary in the range of 10-15%, in addition, the price of IoT devices is even 300-400% lower than stationary reference devices.

Selected air quality measurement methods using IoT technology:

Laser sensors

The air sample analyzed by the sensors is first dried in a special chamber, then, based on the degree of laser light scattering, the level of the tested contamination parameters in the tested sample is determined. Then the sensors send data to the central system, where the information analysis takes place, thanks to which the level of air pollution can be predicted with high accuracy even several days in advance.

Fot. 4 Syngeos air quality sensor on the school building


Drones are a mobile system for testing air quality. Thanks to their application, it is possible to monitor and analyze suspended dust, study smoke from chimneys, and detect smog.

Example: AirDron from SoftBlue SA (fot. 5).

Fot. 5 AirDron from SoftBlue SA

Mobile laboratory “Smogbus”

Smogbus is a mobile air quality assembly system. It is an innovative solution adapted to conduct remote monitoring of air pollution with particulate matter. Smogbus also allows you to take samples for laboratory analysis.

Fot. 6 Smogbus from SoftBlue SA
Fot. 7 Information flow based on SoftBlue SA

There are many ways to obtain environmental data using IoT. Everyone will find an option among them perfectly suited to their habits and technological possibilities. An excellent example is the assessment of air quality carried out with the use of properly calibrated sensors, the indications of which are as close as possible to the results of state stations. This is the most important step taken by local authorities in the fight against smog. It is important due to the measurement of the effects of undertaken actions, such as the replacement of furnaces, but most of all to make the community aware of the environmental conditions in which it lives. Anyone interested in the air condition in their environment, regardless of age or financial capacity, can check the current air quality using IoT.

Examples of IoT applications in air quality control

Mobile applications

Having such an application on the phone or computer allows for quick and efficient access to data, taking into account the location selected by the user. See the image below for examples of apps that you can download from the Google Play.

Fot. 8 air quality control apps

Air quality map on-line

Smog maps are available on various internet portals. Thanks to them, users can independently search for sensors in a selected location, check their measurement in real time and monitor air pollution.

Examples of web portals that can be used to check the current state of air pollution:

a) AQI- Air Pollution: Real- time Air Quality Index

Free website where you can check the real-time air quality index (AQI) in different languages and in a place chosen by the user. In addition to the state of air pollution, the user can also check the current temperature, pressure, humidity and wind.

Fot. 9 Local air quality in Lisbon on August 18, 2022 in Lisbon (Portugal)

b) eLichens Air Quality Map

eLichens World Air Quality Map is a free and unlimited access to the Global Air Quality Map that provides real-time air pollution data for 300 cities around the world.

Fot. 10 Air Quality in Europe according to eLichens as of 08/18/2022

c) Airly

Airly is an air quality monitoring and forecasting system. It allows you to monitor the current level of pollution and helps to predict the level of air pollution in the next 24 hours. It is possible thanks to data analysis with the use of algorithms and elements of artificial intelligence.

The Airly system consists of a network of sensors that measure the level of particulate matter, temperature and humidity in real time. Airly has its own internet platform, mobile application, data panel and forecast. Below is an excerpt from the website, through which you can check the current air quality in a selected place.

Fot. 11 Local air quality in Wrocław according to Airly on August 18, 2022 in Lisbon (Portugal)

d) Syngeos

The Polish Syngeos platform enables the visualization of the collected and analyzed data. Syngeos works with local governments and schools to place air measurement stations, e.g. from around schools or city centers. The collected data can be displayed on LED boards informing students / city residents about the quality of the air. The state of air pollution using the Syngeos portal or application can be checked not only in Poland, but also in many European cities, because the company is intensively developing and measuring stations are installed on an increasing scale.

Fot. 12 The level of PM10 particulate matter in Europe according to Syngeos as of August 18, 2022
Fot. 13 Concentration of particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10 according to Syngeos as of August 18, 2022 in Polkowice (Poland).

There are also websites available on the Internet that can be used to check short-term forecasts of air quality in Europe. They use various methods of modeling the spread of air pollutants. Examples of European short-term air quality forecasts:

LED boards / screens / monitors / local government websites

A great solution is to display the measurement results on screens, monitors, LED boards or local government websites. Monitoring air quality and communicating its results to the public is often practiced by local governments. Such activities bring many benefits, as presenting the results of measurements to the community makes residents aware of air quality in real time. The system of constant air quality monitoring, taking into account the standards (in a color manner), reaches not only young people, but also older people who do not use the Internet on a daily basis. The results of real-time air quality measurements made available to the public allow for quick response to changing environmental conditions and protection of people who are particularly exposed to the negative impact of air pollution, e.g. seniors, pregnant women, children, allergy sufferers.

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is part of the EU’s Copernicus program, which is coordinated and managed by the European Commission. This program is used for Earth observation, where the planet and its environment are analyzed to maximize the benefits for the citizens of the European Union. The program covers the availability of information services based on satellite Earth observation and in situ data (mainly data available from ground-based research stations). Users have free access to information services provided under the program. The program enables continuous monitoring of the current composition of the Earth’s atmosphere on a regional and global scale (analysis), forecasting the situation several days in advance (forecast) or constant analysis and recording of retrospective data from recent years (re-analysis). More information about the Copernicus program can be found on the website:  and youtube:

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring focuses in particular on five main areas:

Sample products provided by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service: