2020: Year in Review

Like every year, at the end of December, I write an article about my blog statistics and environmental news related to air quality and air pollution that shaped the planet during the year.

2020 was one of the worst years in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of the massive wildfires that have burnt vital forests and they have destroyed ecosystems.

Wildfires are by-products of climate change, and they will get worse. Also, get ready for floods.

In 2020, over 9,279 fires have burned more than 4,359,517 acres, which equals to 4% of the roughly 100 million acres of land in the US. The effects of smoke could be long-lasting. Kids and asthmatic are especially at risk. Personally, I believe that air pollution affects everybody, the difference is that kids and elders are more likely to experience the consequences in the short-term.

Unfortunately, fires are not only a naturally occurring event. Each year we burn a lot of things. From stubble burning to wood burning for heating and from stupid and archaic bonfires to BBQs. I receive emails and tweets from people all over the world where people share with me their experience with air pollution.

Each year in late-October, farmers in northern India burn off crop debris, a practice known as stubble burning. They don’t take into consideration their health and the health of the people that live miles away from them, and they will have to breathe this toxic mixture of gases and particles. In Murcia, a southern city in Spain, people suffer every single day from fires and smoke because of the practice of agricultural burning, which is prohibited by the Spanish Law 22/2011. The examples are endless, believe me, and they are present all over the world. It doesn’t matter if you live in a developed or developing country.

#StopQuemasMurcia #India #AirPollution

Another important piece of news in 2020 was the ruling that made 9-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah the first person in the world for whom air pollution is listed as a cause of death. This is a legal history in the UK, and I hope people won’t forget it. My sincere respect to the family for their hard work to raise awareness about air pollution.

In most cases, political unwillingness to address the issue or apply the already established laws are the reasons each year the same events happen. Lowering the life expectancy and creating numerous health issues to the citizens from Alzheimer’s disease to diabetes and heart failure to pregnancy loss to name a few.


Each year, my blog receives almost double the amount of traffic as the year before. However, due to the COVID-19 and the wildfires in 2020, the blog was reached by 193K visitors in 2020, which is three times more than last year. Keep in mind, my blog is all about air pollution/quality, a very narrow subject but at the same time very important for all of us. Google, Twitter, and Facebook are the top three referrers to my blog.

Top Countries

  1. USA
  2. Canada
  3. Philippines
  4. UK
  5. Hong Kong
  6. India

Featured Articles

Top 3 Articles


In 2020 scientists published a lot of papers about air pollution, associating it with subjective health, morbidity, and mortality. They even found a correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 in big cities. In another study, scientists estimate that exposure to air pollution increases COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide.

It is our responsibility not to close our eyes and see the air we breathe.


In-Depth Review: Wynd Halo 1st Edition Sensors

The Wynd Halo 1st Edition uses a proprietary PM sensor with a blue-light laser instead of a red-light laser, which presumably makes it more accurate and precise. Interestingly, I remember during the Kickstarter campaign of the monitor, backers were asking the company if they will sell the sensor as a component part to third parties, and they said yes because it was about to revolutionize the industry.

Although I don’t have a reference monitor, the comparison I conducted is considered a field evaluation in a real-life situation. AQ Monitors are designed to operate inside apartments and buildings for this reason I personally value more a field evaluation in situ than a lab evaluation where every parameter is controlled.

This kind of evaluation won’t tell us how accurate is the sensor, but it will reveal the correlation against other monitors in order to determine if measure something respectable. For example, there are many field and lab evaluations for the commonly found Plantower PMS5003 sensor that demonstrate a correlation of 0.78 – 0.93 against various reference monitors.

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Study: Taking a closer look at the air quality in classrooms

After almost two months of asking local schools for permission to install air quality monitors in their classrooms, on the 4th of December, a local school decided to grant me access.

In my city, Almeria, Spain, there are about 110 schools. I didn’t apply to all of them because each time I managed to find a way to contact them, I had to arrange a meeting in order to explain to them what I wanted to do, and all this process takes time. I managed to contact nine schools.

For this study, schools didn’t have to pay anything, so money wasn’t the issue for their refusal. They were worried about what will happen if the results were disappointing and negative. I tried to explain to them that the aim of the study is to understand what is going on in the classroom, in real conditions, with real students. I don’t want to discredit the school either the local authorities that manage the budget for the school. For this reason, I will keep the name of the school private.


The monitors that I have installed for the study are made by Airthings. There are two Wave Plus, which include a CO2 sensor by Senseair. The sensor is called Sunrise, and it is an ultra-low-power, high precision NDIR sensor. Accuracy (CO2) ±30 ppm ±3% of reading. Finally, it features a self-correction system that allows them to auto-calibrate every 180 hours. I also have included a Wave mini monitor in the teacher’s office room. 

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Review: KAMU Spirometer (Asthma)

I have been talking about air quality monitors and air purifiers in this blog for a long time. They help us see the air we breathe and mitigate pollution. However, is there a way to measure the impact of pollution on our lungs?

Well yes, thanks to technological advances and spirometry, which measures lung function, doctors can use these data in assessing breathing patterns that identify conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD.

In this review, I am going to present to you the KAMU Spiro. It is a handheld bluetooth device that helps us test our lung function at home with a hospital-grade mobile spirometer.

With a single test, we can get FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF values. The spirometry results are saved in KAMU Spiro’s memory until we upload them to our KAMU Asthma app, where we can view them at any time.

What is FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF?

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