Application of a sensor network of low cost optical particle counters for assessing the impact of quarry emissions on its vicinity

Yuval, Hadas Magen Molho, Ohad Zivan, David M. Broday*, Raanan Raz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The adverse health effects of inhaled particulate matter (PM)are global concern. Yet, in general, estimating the exposure to PM is challenging due to the sparsity of standard air quality monitoring stations and the low accuracy of dispersion models when high spatial resolution is required. The city of Elad, Israel, is situated less than 1 km from the Migdal Tzedek stone quarry, and public concerns were raised regarding the impact of the quarry's PM emissions on the city air quality. This work describes a year-long campaign of continuous measurements of particle number concentration (PNC)in few locations in the city and its vicinity, using a network of low cost optical particle counters (OPCs). To assess the possible impact of the quarry on the city we examined the OPCs' accuracy, coherency, and their capability to detect the quarry's impact on the PNC levels in the city. Using PNC time series in two size channels from a network of five nodes, PM10 and PM2.5 records from a nearby reference air quality monitoring station, and meteorological data, we could conclude that the quarry's impact on the city was small relative to the background PNC levels. Yet, more importantly, this work demonstrates the use of a network of low cost OPCs for responding to an environmental query for which the sparse standard air quality monitoring observations were not sufficient. The trade-offs between deployment of a network of cheap low-quality instruments and the use of a single high-end device are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Optical particle counter
  • Particle number concentration
  • Quarry emissions
  • Sensor network


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