Air Quality – What You Need To Know

7th January 2020

Air quality is big news globally. We’re increasingly aware of the negative impact poor air quality has on our health and well-being. However, we still remain relatively ill-informed as to our surrounding air pollution at a local and regional resolution.

In order to investigate, measure and monitor air quality we consider two types of distinguishable indicators -generically categorised as particulate matter and gas.

Particulate Matter (also known as PM2.5 and PM10)


PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter – these are super fine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. These can also be absorbed into the blood steam.


PM10 is particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter – these are larger particles that can be trapped in the nose, mouth or throat.

Particulate matter is both natural and anthropogenic.



NO2 and NO react with volatile organic compounds (particularly anthropogenic hydrocarbons) in the presence of sunlight, photochemical smog is formed.

Breathing in NO2 increases the likelihood of respiratory problems:

  • lung inflammation
  • reduced immunity to lung infections, colds, flu & bronchitis

We also provide a bespoke service of CO2, SO2, NO and NOx, as well as non-criteria pollutants: lead, benzene, dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, pollen, and spores.

Air quality measurements can then be attributed to an air quality index, assessing the implications on populations residing within an area. Air quality will differ greatly depending on your locale, as it is influenced by a host of varying factors. Therefore, Air Quality Index assessments will need to be carried out separately for specific areas.

Air quality can be measured at different spatial resolutions depending whether data is needed at a regional level (from 50km) or at street level (up to 20m).

As air quality impacts everyone, every organisation has a duty of care to their employees, stakeholders, customers and the general public. Whether it’s part of your corporate social responsibility strategy, sustainability plan, R&D plan, or your communications, air quality is an important consideration for all global organisations. Everyone creates air pollution.

by 4EI

4EI provide Applied Earth Intelligence and analytics. We gather evidence-based intelligence about the earth, using data collected through sophisticated space assets.

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