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Monitoring Air Pollution

Air monitoring methodologies can be divided into five main types, covering a wide range of costs and performance levels. The methods and their relative merits are shown in the table below and discussed in the following section. The use of a particular type of monitoring equipment may need to be justified in review and assessment reports and therefore should be chosen appropriately.

It is also important to choose the most appropriate monitoring location for investigating a specific air pollution source or problem.

Photochemical and Optical Sensor Systems

A range of relatively low-cost automatic analysers has been developed specifically for portable and personal exposure monitoring applications. These are battery or mains operated electrochemical or solid-state sensor based systems which can continuously monitor a range of pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide) with a time average of 15-minutes or less. These sensors are of low sensitivity and mostly suitable for identifying hotspots at roadsides and near point sources etc. Portable sensors using the light scattering principle are available for PM10 monitoring.