The name of a brand new type of air pollution monitoring station, the first prototype produced by volunteers in Tbilisi, Georgia, on the weekend of 20-21 May 2023, is "AirGE". Parts of three dozen other stations have been modeled on it. Volunteers will continue to work on them in the coming weeks. During the summer, stations will be deployed in several Georgia cities to provide data on current concentrations of hazardous air pollutants.
“We have used our experience with citizen air monitoring in Ukraine and Belarus, where we have supported this concept for many years. The technical design of the Georgian stations is practically the same and based on an internationally accepted standard. It works on the principle of laser sensors, which can be bought cheaply and easily connected to a simple motherboard. This means that even volunteers with no technical training can manufacture the stations without relying on uncertain supply chains. Moreover, self-help production significantly reduces the final price of such equipment,” explains Martin Skalský from Arnika.
The AirGE station will initially enable the measurement of microscopic particulate matter (PM) concentrations. These carry a range of toxic substances and penetrate deep into the lungs. The World Health Organisation says these are among the most dangerous pollutants. Later, their operators can further improve and adapt them to measure other types of pollution, such as nitrogen and carbon oxides, ammonia, and radiation.
Our partners at GreenPole Georgia are now working with us to find volunteers from cities plagued by heavy traffic, outdated industry or mining who would like to run the station on their window or balcony. In doing so, they will help their fellow citizens get information about the state of the air. The only condition is the willingness to connect the station permanently to electricity and the Internet.