Atmospheric Particle Pollution

Atmospheric Particle Pollution (APP) is caused by the release of chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone, and Particulate Matter – PM2.5 & PM10 into the atmosphere. These chemicals can react and produce toxic particles that pollute the atmosphere (EPA, 2021). Factors such as gas-powered vehicles, factories, coal burning, and dust have led to an increase in the number of particles in the air.

Not only can these particles lead to an increase in climate change, but they are also carcinogenic. These carcinogens can cause trouble breathing, illness, and even cardiovascular issues among exposed people [1,2].   

Over the years, there has been a decrease in atmospheric particle pollution production in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there has been a 40% reduction in American produced Atmospheric Particle Production from 2000 to 2020. Although, APP remains to be a significant problem in other places across the globe. The decrease in APP within the United States can be attributed to the implementation of the “Clean Air Act”, which set standards for air quality across the United States (EPA, 2021).  

Robotic Solutions for Atmospheric Particle Pollution

Robots are now instrumental in the fight against air pollution, advancing air quality monitoring and potentially saving millions of lives. There are multiple robotic technologies that are implemented to help decrease Atmospheric Particle Pollution. These technologies include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), synthetic trees, and other such implementations. For example, UVAs have been used to analyze air samples and collect data over large distances. They are further advanced to identify sources of APP and researchers are working toward developing a robotics solution to remove particulate pollution from the air. 

  • The Botlink air quality monitoring drone was designed for mapping pollution gases and particulates. Originally designed for the US Army in Africa, the air quality drone combines off-the-shelf hardware into a powerful aerial tool. There are multiple applications for measuring the pollution content of ambient air, including urban air quality networks, industrial emission monitoring, safety monitoring, roadside monitoring, and air quality research.
  • The Scentroid DR1000 & DR2000 Drone-Based Air Quality Analyzers provide a robust platform to conduct air sample collection, aerial thermal inspection, and air quality measurement for a wide range of applications including monitoring of Fugitive emission; Flare emission; Leak detection along oil pipelines; Landfill methane and odor emission.

To see ongoing research and development for mitigating the causes and effects of Atmospheric Particle Pollution, click here.

To deep dive into the research publications about Atmospheric Particle Pollution, click here.

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[1] Mackenzie, J., & Turrentine, J. (2021). Air Pollution Facts, Causes and the Effects of Pollutants in the Air. NRDC.
[2] Jiang, N., Liu, X., Wang, S., Yu, X., Yin, S., Duan, S., Wang, S., Zhang, R., & Li, S. (2019). Pollution Characterization, Source Identification, and Health Risks of Atmospheric-Particle-Bound Heavy Metals in PM10 and PM2.5 at Multiple Sites in an Emerging Megacity in the Central Region of China. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 19(2), 247–271.