Strengthening technical capacities Quality control for air quality monitoring networks in Latin American cities
The air quality in heavily dense cities is a topic of concern to governments due to the growing impact of pollution in the public health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 93000 deaths in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) and 44000 in high income (HI) countries are attributable to ambient air pollution. In addition to the human health factor, pollution also has effects on the environment and the economy. Consequently, governments are putting a lot effort on air pollution monitoring.
Bearing in mind the importance of this topic for the region, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States (NIST), together with the Costa Rican Metrology Laboratory (LACOMET), The University National of Costa Rica (UNA) and the National Center of Metrology of Mexico (CENAM) implemented the Regional Workshop: Contribution of Metrology for the Quality Assurance of the Measurements of the Air Quality Monitoring Networks in June of 2018. The activity addressed metrological capabilities associated with the operation of the air quality monitoring stations, as well as their maintenance and calibration.
The event had the participation of 70 experts from 15 countries of the Region, whom analyzed the issues such as the role of metrology in the operation and management of air quality monitoring systems; calibration and traceability protocols for air quality monitoring systems; instrumentation, CRM, etc. The workshop also included practical examples on how countries with more developed air quality monitoring networks such as Brazil, Mexico and the United States performed quality assurance and compliance of the air quality measurements. The activity generated opportunities for meeting people with common interests and /or complementary knowledge, exchange of best practices in the fields of metrology and air quality.
Following up the results achieved in this workshop, a new activity intended to address the traceability of measurements is currently under planning. The workshop’s objective is to train the operators of atmospheric monitoring networks in the main cities of Latin America, in order to improve the traceability of the measurements that are made and achieve a network of cooperation at a regional level.
The activity will consist of a practical theoretical workshop that will begin with the presentation of the current situation of the different countries followed by practical (hands on in the lab) and theoretical training in the following topics:
- Techniques and calibration methods for automatic analyzers and manuals for suspended particle (PM10 and PM2.5), calculations to determine the minimum detection limit and its traceability; Constrasted/comparison methods; equivalent alternative methods vs reference methods.
- Methods to ensure the correct generation of calibration standards. Zero air, ozone and dilutions used mass dilution systems in the gas calibration systems criterion. Calculation of uncertainty of the dilutions.
- Determination of the uncertainty in the measurements of the criteria pollutants: O3, NOx, CO, SO2 and Particulate Material using FRM / FEM.
- Representativeness of the measurement point: Correct location of Atmospheric Monitoring stations and sampling system requirements.