AirSafe: Fighting Africans silent and Invisible Killer with IoT

Air(oxygen) keeps the human body alive, but could also serve as the medium through which several harmful particulates and gasses enter the human body when polluted.

Pollution occurs as a result of the release of harmful gasses and particulates into the air

Air Pollution occurs as a result of the release of several harmful particulates and gases into the air, in high quantities, when fossil fuels are burnt. In Africa, pollution occurs not only due to fossil fuel burning by industries, It includes emissions from sources like Non-road-worthy cars and the heavy use of kerosene and coal in rural communities.

According to a report by OECD, Air pollution kills more than dirty water in Africa, with death tolls as high as 712,000 yearly. It was identified as the major factor behind one-fifth of infant deaths(449,000 in 2015) in sub-Saharan Africa, was linked to stunted brain development and asthma in kids in a study and identified as a major cause of stroke and respiratory-related cancers in adults.

As huge as this problem is, it is usually not on the forefront of health discussions, as the problem is not easily quantifiable, due to the lack of air quality monitoring systems in most countries in Africa.

To Solve this problem, we are building AirSafe; an open hardware, software and data platform to help people ensure the air around them is of breathable quality, at all times.

How it Works

AirSense

The AirSafe hardware comprises of an air quality sensor which observes the quality of air in the environment and a communication module(preferably LoRa), through which the air quality data is sent to the AirSafe Platform.

The AirSafe Platform will provide access to the data generated, presenting it in an easy-to-understand manner(infographics) and allow platform users to set up notifications, and be alerted when quality levels are critical. Via APIs, the platform will provide actionable insights needed to tackle pollution to government agencies and related parastatals while providing the data that may be needed for the development of other Air quality solutions.

The AirSafe sensors will be based on open source hardware and made available in kits, so people can build their own hardware and mount in their immediate environment. Conscious efforts will be made to introduce the kits to kids in schools across Africa to steer up desire for STEM, Making and problem-solving in them. The entire AirSafe setup will be based on Open standards like the Eclipse Mosquitto among others, to make it easy for people to connect their own custom hardware to the platform.

Conclusion

By developing this project, we hope to create an opportunity to acquire actionable data as regards the rate of air pollution, reduce the number of deaths due to air pollution, and inspire others(especially kids) to build solutions around air pollution and other problems facing Africa and the world at large.