What is Ambient Air Monitoring?

July 6, 2016

Ambient air is a part of the environment located outside of buildings that are accessible to the public. Its quality is essential to the well-being to all organisms that rely on air to survive and thus a monitoring system is needed to ensure that it is safe to inhale.

Ambient Air Monitoring is the systematic way of examining air quality for pollutants. It monitors the air for sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and total suspended particles (TSP). It determines the extent of pollution in the air, provides information on air quality, supporting the implementation of clean air strategies among others.

Air quality is an issue that has become a growing problem for modern society. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, coal burning factories spewed carbon into the air, block out the sun in some extreme cases. Coal continued to be used for heating and as a primary energy source into the twentieth century until after World War Two.

Occurrences such as the Great Smog of 1952 in London England claimed the lives of 4,000 people. In the United States, a deadly smog in Donora, Pennsylvania, killed 20 people while 7,000 became ill. The move toward better air quality came in the form of legislation such as the Clean Air Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1963. Though we are becoming more aware of air pollution, air quality is still something to keep watch on.

Other Sources

EnviroMed Detection Services. “What is Ambient Air Monitoring.” EnviroMed Detection Services. http://enviromed.ca/index.php?id_cms=30&controller=cms. Accessed July 5, 2016.

EPA. “Ambient Air Monitoring.” EPA. https://www.epa.gov/air-quality-management-process/ambient-air-monitoring. Accessed July 5, 2015.