Air quality is such a specialized subject. Clean air and the effect of pollution on public health is a topic that few people understand. However, the people who do understand air pollution monitoring are passionate and driven minds working to create a healthier world. Today, we'd like to introduce one of our air quality heroes: Sotirios Papathanasiou.
Hailing from Greece, Sotirios Papathanasiou is an air quality expert. His blog, See The Air, focuses on air quality monitoring, pollution analysis, and activism pushing cities around the world to concentrate on clean air.
Sotirios is an electronic engineer by training, but he got involved with air pollution when he knew he could make a tangible difference.
”I noticed that air pollution is a real issue and no one does anything about it,” he says. “My background [in engineering] also helped me to understand better the work and what limitations are measured.”
Beyond See The Air, Sotirios works as a consultant with companies that want to build air quality monitors. He is passionate about helping governments and businesses improve air quality and making people more aware of pollution. Sotirios’s work focuses primarily on social media activism, technology, and sensor data.
Sotirios has also written three books. Nicholas and His Incredible Eyesight and Nicholas—The Science Book are two children’s books aimed to educate younger generations on the importance of air quality. Most recently, however, Sotirios wrote See The Air, a book detailing the negative effects air pollution has on human health.
Sotirios wrote these books to help people understand the importance of air quality even more. “I wanted to give people another way to learn about air pollution,” he says. He chose to write children’s books to educate future generations on air quality and pollution.
On a global scale, Sotirios believes steps in improving awareness of air pollution are moving in the right direction. However, he knows a lot of work needs to be done. Sotirios says action is taken in three separate categories: citizens, communities, and governments.
“I see new groups form all around the globe, regarding their pollution and how communities can combat the problem,” he says. “All of them...push the governments and politicians to do the right thing and pass the right laws to control emissions in the city or the burning of crops in rural areas.” Sotirios affirms that air quality will definitely improve, because we don’t have a choice.
Regarding climate change and air quality, the world needs to focus locally in order to focus globally. In order to make large scale changes, we have to start small. Sotirios focuses on the idea that the solution for change is a recipe.
“In different places, they have different problems,” he says. “In a city, you will find a different problem than in a rural area. In Spain, you will find a different problem than India. The economics are different.”
Think globally, act locally.
The world needs to act now to improve air pollution and combat climate change. Air quality, specifically, is something many take for granted. Poor air quality directly affects human health, and investing in indicative sensing is extremely important.
“I think it’s super important for everyone, and even for cities, to invest in the solution of low-cost monitors,” Sotirios says. “There is proof. Air pollution affects human health, and if we want to live healthy, if we want our kids to develop [healthily], and if we want to respect all the people in order for them to live and enjoy life as much as they can in a healthy way...we have to do something about it today.”
Sotirios has a passion for air quality, and he truly believes monitoring and tackling pollution is necessary to build a healthier world. From developed to developing countries, Sotirios encourages cities and people across the world to take air quality seriously.
The localized nature of air quality calls for localized action that will in turn collectively have a greater impact on pollution worldwide.