Real time air quality information available at local library

July 4, 2013 by  

Thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Durham residents have one more reason to frequent the Durham County South Regional Library. While library patrons in the past enjoyed the books, videos, audio books, and availability of computers, they can now also enjoy learning about the local air quality during their visits.

Durham County, in conjunction with the EPA, has recently launched the Village Green Project to monitor local air quality and make the results available to the public in real time. Ideally, the library will order a flyer printing to inform the public about this exciting addition to the services they provide. Better still would be a pamphlet or brochure thoroughly explaining how the various pollutants affect humans and their environment.

The monitoring equipment uses solar panels as its power source and measures levels of ozone, black carbon, and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) each minute. Each of these pollutants, when elevated, can cause a number of health problems. Additionally, weather conditions are monitored because such factors as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, and relative humidity play a part in air quality and the dispersal of pollutants.

This monitoring system was developed to provide a low-cost method for local communities to measure and promote awareness of local air quality. The system in Durham is housed in a bench at the library. Information concerning the levels of pollutants and weather conditions can be accessed in person at the library, online at the EPA’s site, or by Smartphone.