Technology Helping Fight the Global Pollution Epidemic

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Pollution remains one of the most damaging and immediate concerns across the world.

Scientists, researchers, and developers are constantly working to find innovative solutions to the world’s pollution issues, and drones might be the answer this generation was looking for.

“Most of what we know about air pollution is based on ground-level date, but that’s not where many of the emissions are happening,” said Markus Hilpert, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School. “Without a drone, it’s not safe or it can be difficult to take these kind of measurements.”

Hilpert and his team recently became the first group of researchers to be approved by Columbia University to use drones for scientific researcher in the United States.

The School of Engineering research team, along with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, are building a multirotor drone helicopter to measure pollution coming from industrial smokestacks. The drone will be able to ascend up to 400 feet and collect otherwise impossible-to-get-to air samples for lab analysis.

Although air pollution is a major problem, there are still plenty of pollution issues taking place on the ground level. Luckily, there are non-profit organizations, volunteer groups, and environmentally conscious companies that are doing all they can to help preserve the environment and combat pollution. Each week, for example, GreenDrop stops roughly 100 tons of used clothes, electronics, and other harmful items from being carelessly tossed into landfills.

As reported by KRWG, drones are also being used to take aerial photos of landfills in order to provide a reliable, comprehensive look at the images and figure out potential solutions.

“Every tiny black dot on the phone image is a location where the drone has taken a picture,” said Don Gray of Gordon Environment/PSC. “When the photos are processed, the output will provide a highly-detailed photo and elevations allowing us to give the [solid waste authority] volumetrics of the new landfill cell.”

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