Rapid urbanization and its associated industries, transport systems and more have increased air pollution over the years, especially in the country’s main cities and industrial areas. Sri Lanka’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions grew by a staggering 43% from 1990 to 2011. In 2011, it was reported that the country emitted 45 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, consistently exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) annual guideline of 20μg/m3 for PM10 – a class of particulate matter measured as a proxy for overall air quality. Most activities related to air quality monitoring and management have been concentrated in Colombo, the main metropolis. The lack of a centralized system to record real-time air quality data over long periods of time has hampered effective monitoring and management of air quality across Sri Lanka.

Dialog together with the National Building Research Organization (NBRO), the mandated state organization, set out to close this gap and address the limitations in effective air quality monitoring in the country. The partners will establish an IoT sensor network to monitor selected components such as Particulate Matter 2.5, Particulate Matter 10, Carbon Dioxide, VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Methane in ambient air. These sensors feed into a central platform through which members of the public and any authorized persons can retrieve real-time air quality data. The platform will also act as a data repository, where air quality records will be stored over time, allowing for trend analysis and pattern recognition.

The public will be able to gain awareness about the air quality around Sri Lanka from the Vaayu website. The website will show the real-time air quality at a chosen location, past 12-hour readings, explain the pollutants detected in the air and how they can affect a person’s health, and how to take precautions according to the situation.

The project brings together Dialog’s technological knowhow with its proven record of successfully developing and implementing IoT based solutions ranging from agriculture, weather, smart homes, and the scientific expertise and mandate of the NBRO, to roll out a national-level solution to measure and manage a critical environmental problem that costs lives and harms our natural resources and processes.