07
Jul
Community Information

PurpleAir Sensors

Aaron Krausert
I
July 7, 2022

As another summer nears, we thought it would be a good time to bring back a video we did in 2017 featuring PurpleAir air-quality sensors. While we hope for a summer of sunny skies and clean air, we also want to ensure people know how to access real-time, high-quality information about the air quality in their neighbourhood.

According to Dr. Michael Mehta, an environmental social scientist at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops has multiple air sheds that are constantly changing and, at times, we can have worse air quality than Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary–especially when factoring in wildfire smoke. Other factors which impact the air quality in our local air sheds are industrial activity, transportation corridors like rail and highways and particulate from wood-burning stoves.

Dr. Mehta promotes the use of PurpleAir, an innovative way of monitoring air quality in real time using a multitude of low-cost, high-tech, coffee-cup sized sensors–which he’s installed all over the community. The promotion of the sensors over the last few years has also led to many Kamloopsians installing their own so they know what the air quality is right outside their home–which also provides more data points, leading to more accurate information!

This Wi-Fi-enabled technology can be placed anywhere in the city and is used all over the world. Seeing what the air quality is like in real time is really important for those with respiratory conditions and anyone who wants to know what their risk might be engaging in outdoor activities - including those who work outside. The combination of the geography in Kamloops, along with varying air sheds and airflow means there can often be drastic differences between neighbourhoods. I know I’ve definitely checked the map before deciding where I might want to take my kids out for a hike or bike ride.

The device has two laser particle counters and a small computer inside which picks up the Wi-Fi signal from your router and then populates the data in real time on the PurpleAir website. The information has been studied in peer-reviewed journals and is very accurate and reliable. You can zoom out on the map and see how the air quality in Kamloops compares to many other cities across the world - which is pretty cool!

Want to learn more? Check out the video on the YourKamloops website!

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