Cars vs People in the USA – Air Quality

Last week was CleanAirDay. I love days like this when a collective effort is made to raise awareness of such an important problem in modern society. Most importantly the new generation of citizens is taught about the importance of excellent air quality and the dangers of air pollution.

For the past few weeks, I have been living in the US near Boston and I am still trying to wrap my head around those super monstrous vehicles people use to commute from one place to another and how towns are designed to force people to drive everywhere.

I am the only person that walks to work or to the grocery store. Literally, I don’t see other people walking here. It’s tremendous!

Every morning on my way to work I pass by a school district where a huge line of cars aligns in order to drop off their kids at school. Not only that, but when you look at the aerial photos of the school you will see numerous parking lots. It stinks too! I had to find a secondary road to walk in my effort to avoid breathing all of these notorious toxic pollutants.

Additionally, the parking area is as huge as the school. Vehicles occupy a lot of space and in most cases, only one or two people are inside. I don’t expect them to change their behavior but at least the authorities need to offer alternatives to those that care for a better world. Public transport is limited with 1 bus line every hour and at 18:00 is the last ride. On the weekend there is no commuter rail to Boston either so if a family wants to visit a museum or something they have to drive.

People are so surprised that I walk. My point is that although you can cover larger distances with a vehicle, at the same time you become more restrictive of your physical health as you end up sitting all day which is well-known as non-beneficial.

On my next walk to work, I will take with me a Particles Plus 8306 Handheld Particle Counter, which is a super accurate instrument and it can measure particles from 0.3 to 25μm, but I have to sacrifice part of my daily clean air. All for science!

A Sincere Farewell – I’m Moving on from Consultancy

Well, although this is not my last article here on See the Air, this is my goodbye to consultancy and open collaboration with other experts and companies in the field of air quality.

Even though I didn’t want to write an article about emotions because this is a blog about tech and air quality, the fact that I will have to move abroad again is emotional because I will no longer work from my Spanish office, but my new US office. I can’t wait to experience new opportunities and meet and work with new people. Lots of excitement and a big smile on my face.

I’ve always tried to answer big questions about the importance of excellent air quality and how technology can help us see, quantify, and understand air pollutants in an effort to mitigate them and ensure quality of life.

In this post, I will answer the most-asked question that I’ve ever gotten: What is air quality?
Actually, I think I have a pretty good answer for that. Air quality is a scale of colors and numbers we have invented to try to understand if the air we breathe is good or bad. In most places around the world, an Air Quality Index (AQI) is used to determine the ambient air quality. Each AQI has different thresholds for each pollutant. 

Personally, I disagree with most of the AQI out there and I have developed my own standards because my health is very important and it cannot be a subject of generalizations and the agendas of each environmental agency.

Over the years, I have taken part in various projects, in some of which I was responsible for the development of air quality monitors. Unfortunately, we often had to use over-the-counter sensors with limited accuracy and repeatability. Those low-cost sensors have offered tremendous insight into the consumer’s air quality, but it is time to bring even better and more precise measurements to the public.

For these reasons and as you can see from the image above, I am now joining Particles Plus, Inc., a company in Boston, USA specializing in the development of highly accurate particle counters.

Particles Plus offers a line of advanced-technology particle counters, air quality monitors, and environmental OEM sensors. As the most vertically integrated particle counter manufacturer and technology licensing company in the industry, Particles Plus engineers and manufactures its own counter, display, battery, vacuum pump, and sensor technology from the ground up. Added intelligence in each module results in products with superior performance, extended features, accuracy, quality, reliability, and value.

Well, everybody, thanks for reading this post. Stay tuned for lots of exciting news in the space of air quality monitoring.

Should Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles come with a permanent sticker on the back similar to the Tobacco packaging?

I think we have come to a point in time where we are well aware of the dangers internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles hide as they emit a tremendous amount of toxic pollutants that have a direct health impact on dwellers, especially in cities.

Nowadays, going to the center of a city by car is unnecessary and very impractical. However, many still insist on taking their huge SUVs even for a trip within a walking distance. Walking distance means going from one point to another no farther than 1,5 km / 1 mile or 15 minutes in time. I don’t think you will go any faster if you take your car because of all the hassle that it involves (parking, getting on board, load stuff, etc).

Schools here in Europe are within walking distances. This is the reason your kid cannot go to a school in a different district. Even then though, parents form huge queue outside of the schools in order to drop off their kids every single morning. No! It’s time to walk!

I believe cars should come with a permanent sticker on the rear side similar to the tobacco packaging in order to make people think and react. The sticker cannot be removed or covered by law. Maybe you will turn off the engine while waiting or not forcing the car to start even when new cars hibernate the engine automatically in traffic lights.

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