OpenAQ is an open-source project to surface live, real-time air quality data from around the world. Its “mission is to enable previously impossible science, impact policy and empower the public to fight air pollution.” The data include air pollutant measurements for PM10, PM2.5, sulfur dioxide (SO₂), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), ozone (O₃), and black carbon (BC) from over 5,400 locations in 48 countries as of June 2017. Scientists, researchers, developers, and citizens can use these data to understand how air quality in different locations changes over time.
OpenAQ has 5 criteria for including data sources in its platform:
1) Data must represent one of these pollutant types: PM10, PM2.5, SO₂, CO, NO₂, O₃, or BC;
2) data must be from an official-level stationary, outdoor air quality source, defined as data produced by a government entity or international organization;
3) data must be "raw" and reported in physical concentrations on their originating site;
4) data must be at the "station-level," not aggregated into a higher (e.g., city) level;
5) data must be from measurements averaged between 10 minutes and 24 hours.
Sulfur dioxide (SO₂) is a colorless, reactive air pollutant with a strong odor. This gas can be a threat to human health, animal health, and plant life. The main sources of sulfur dioxide emissions are from fossil fuel combustion and natural volcanic activity.
Sulfur dioxide irritates the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. High concentrations of SO₂ can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system, especially during heavy physical activity. The resulting symptoms can include pain when taking a deep breath, coughing, throat irritation, and breathing difficulties. High concentrations of SO₂ can affect lung function, worsen asthma attacks, and worsen existing heart disease in sensitive groups.
This gas can also react with other chemicals in the air and change to a small particle that can get into the lungs and cause similar health effects. People with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema will generally have more serious health effects at higher SO₂ levels. Children are at higher risk from SO₂ exposure because their lungs are still developing. They are also more likely to have asthma, which can get worse with SO₂ exposure.
Resource Watch shows only a subset of the dataset. For access to the full dataset and additional information, see the Learn More link.
OpenAQ Air Quality Readings
Data on the OpenAQ Application Programming Interface (API) are as reported by official entities. All quality control and data verification should be performed by users.
Hasenkopf, Christa A., David C. Adukpo, Michael Brauer, H. Langley Dewitt, Sarath Guttikunda, Alaa I. Ibrahim, Delgerzul Lodoisamba, et al. 2016. "To Combat Air Inequality, Governments and Researchers Must Open Their Data." Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug 26 (2): 8-10. Accessed through Resource Watch, (date). www.resourcewatch.org.
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan (Province of China), Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam
Varies by country and source