Why Air Quality Monitoring Programs in New Hampshire Are Paving the Way
What’s the major cause of pollution in your region?
For some, it’s the excess emissions from local manufacturing, power plants, and heavy industry. For others, it’s household emissions and the transportation along busy highways. But to answer that question—communities first need to build an expansive air quality network.
That way, you can more accurately pinpoint the sources of local air pollution.
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is one organization tackling this problem for local residents. And in today’s blog, we’re showing how they’re working together to make air quality knowledge a priority for everyone in New Hampshire.
History of Air Quality in New Hampshire
Historically, heavy industry was a major cause of air pollution in New Hampshire. For example, large paper mills in Coos County used to expose residents to high levels of sulfur dioxide and fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5). Additionally, large power plants in the urban areas south of New Hampshire have also caused a majority of air pollution in the past.
All these dangerous emissions lead to unhealthy air quality levels in the community. Now, some of these facilities have closed. And so, there is no longer a need to monitor air quality there. However, there are still threats to New Hampshire’s air quality today.
For one, air quality worsens in densely populated areas due to daily household and business emissions. On top of that, the vehicular emissions from local highway systems are detrimental to the local air quality. Finally, wood burning in rural areas is also of concern as many households still rely on outdated heating systems.
Thankfully, the NHDES is working on addressing these issues and more by expanding its air quality network. Together, it's working with community members to increase awareness of New Hampshire’s air pollution.
New Hampshire’s Citizen Air Monitoring Program
Since the Clean Air Act in the 1970s, New Hampshire has worked towards improving its air quality for all residents through various laws, regulations, and air quality programs. Throughout the 10 different counties, air quality monitoring coverage has increased—especially in recent years.
However, there is still a lot more work to be done in the state.
Currently, there are only 6 PM2.5 air quality monitoring stations throughout New Hampshire operated by NHDES. Due to the limited number of stations, many regions are not covered by this monitoring network. The good news is solutions are on the horizon that can fill in these data gaps.
Thanks to modern air quality technology, highly precise and low-cost air quality monitors are more readily available. PurpleAir's air quality monitors, for example, are evaluated by the AQ-SPEC program and trusted by academics all over the world due to their high accuracy.
Because of this, New Hampshire has started a Citizen’s Air Quality Monitoring Program (CAMP) which empowers residents by encouraging them to help expand their air quality network.
This is exciting news because the voluntary program is designed to encourage anyone who owns a PurpleAir air quality monitor to register it. Then, they can share that air quality data with NHDES officials to help inform local policymakers about air pollution in New Hampshire.
By registering with NHDES, local residents also get:
- Help with PurpleAir registration, installment, and maintenance.
- To help improve the PurpleAir Map as well as access to an air quality map specific to New Hampshire, helping other residents without air quality monitors know the air quality around them.
- Comfort knowing that state air pollution officials review the air quality data regularly.
Add Your Air Quality Monitor to the New Hampshire Map
To set up your PurpleAir device to the New Hampshire Map, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Choose an outdoor location to install your PurpleAir monitor.
- Step 2: Ensure you've set the air quality monitor to collect data as a public device so it’s visible on the air quality map.
- Step 3: Register your air quality monitor with New Hampshire’s air quality monitoring program.
Connect With PurpleAir
At PurpleAir, there are tons of organizations and researchers around the world using our data—from Google to the EPA. We’re thrilled to see research like this being used to help local neighborhoods, and we look forward to seeing plenty more in the future.
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