TY Students Test Air Quality in Gorey
One of the main aims of the Town of Things project is to allow students to learn and engage with the technologies that are being used as part of the Town of Things project in Gorey. Three workshops were held across schools in Gorey. Students from Creagh College, Gorey Community School and Coláiste an Átha took part in the “Gorey Smart Sensor and Air Quality Sensors” Workshop.
The workshops allowed TY students to develop an understanding of the air quality sensors that have been installed in Gorey in the Box of Things and what is the purpose of having these sensors installed in towns.
Why Do We Need Air Quality Sensors?
Air pollution is made up of a mixture of the particulate matter and gases in the air. Air pollution comes from a range of natural and human made resources. Recent data from the WHO shows that almost all the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds the WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants. Therefore, air quality sensors are important to monitor the levels of air pollution across towns and cities in Ireland. These sensors can help Ireland to reach their target goals of reducing greenhouse gases by 51% by 2030 and achieving a climate neutral economy by 2050.
Air pollutants come from both natural and human made sources. Natural sources of air pollutants include wildfires or volcanic eruptions. There have been several examples of how the air pollutants from wildfires can spread for hundreds of miles and can affect the health of the residents these areas, even though they are hundreds of miles from where the wildfire occurred.
Human made sources of air pollution include cars and the burning of fossil fuels. Human made sources of air pollution are not only a concern for our outdoors environments but our indoor environments too.
The Town of Things Workshop
The workshops were held in three schools across Gorey, Creagh College, Gorey Community School and Coláiste an Átha. The purpose of these workshops was to teach the students about the environmental impacts of air pollution.
The workshop began with a presentation on climate change and air pollution with the students having several activities throughout to encourage them to think about climate change and air pollution in their area.
After the presentation, the students got the chance to build their own air quality sensor and understand how each of the components worked to measure air quality.
The components which make up the air quality sensors that the students were asked to build during the workshop include:
- Particulate Matter Sensor – will measure the concentration of particulate pollutants in the surrounding air.
- Gas Sensor – measure the concentration of gas pollutants in the surrounding air.
- The Arduino – single board microcontroller which we programme to allow the sensors to communicate with the LED strips.
- LED Lights – Which will light up a different number of LEDs to indicate how many pollutants are in the surrounding air. The more LEDs that light up, the higher the concentration of air pollution in the air.
Once the sensors were built the students tested several items and different areas around each school. The items used to test the sensors included items such as a tea bag, permanent markers, aerosols and tipex.
The sensors were also tested in various areas around the school to understand if different locations had more air pollution than others. They were tested in indoor and outdoor environments to see if the air quality would change whether the items were used indoors or outdoors.
Check out our gallery below from the workshops held across Gorey schools.
Town of Things is a pathfinder project between Wexford County Council and the Irish Institute of Digital Business at Dublin City University to trial new technologies or innovate using existing technologies. This project is an innovation project primarily funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Digital Innovation Programme. The Town of Things project produces open data for Gorey town, which is available through the Town of Things open data platform