Create the first combined air quality monitoring network with federal reference techniques and high precision with new low-cost technologies for the delivery of real-time data on a large scale in the province of Tucumán


This project was formulated jointly between the Breathe2Change initiative and the State Secretariat for the Environment of the Superior Government of the Province of Tucumán, and was applied for the Future Fund 2022 application of the Under2 Coalition. Fund that was granted in order to empower and enable developing regions members of the Under2 Coalition, such as the province of Tucumán, to accelerate their transition towards low-carbon economies aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding. Understanding Under2 MOU.

What is the context and need for this project?

The sources of air pollution can be due to various factors, including industrial activity, the burning of fossil fuels associated with the vehicle fleet and the open burning of biomass associated with agricultural activities (preparation of land for agricultural use and disposal of crop residues).


These sources promote the formation and release into the atmosphere of a large number of gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, nitrogen oxides (NOX = NO + NO2), precursors to photochemical smog, ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), contributors to acid rain, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and PM, ultrafine particulate matter (up to 10 micrometers in diameter). The latter is strongly associated with an increase in the incidence of premature births, low birth weight, cognitive problems in children and the elderly, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in the general population. It is estimated that more than 4.2 million deaths worldwide were caused by fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) in 2015, more premature deaths than malaria and HIV. On the other hand, recent studies suggest a causal relationship between exposure to high concentrations of particulate matter in the air and a higher incidence of COVID-19 cases.

Air pollution not only poses a threat to human health but also to the environment and the economy, as it reduces crop yields and affects precipitation and temperature patterns.

Although there are strict laws to control and regulate the use of fire in most Latin American countries, in Argentina alone, more than one million hectares were burned in 2022. Of these fires, a total of 95% were due to human intervention, according to a recent report from the National Fire Management Service, with the central and northwest regions of the country being the most affected, mainly due to intense agricultural activity and climatic factors such as lack of rainfall, high temperatures, and strong winds. Within this region, the province of Tucumán is historically the most affected province each year due to biomass burning. The effects on local air pollution and regional transport of pollutants generated by these events cannot be assessed without the use of ground monitoring systems. Many developing countries lack air quality monitoring systems, leading to a lack of information to help decision-makers develop evidence-based policies to reduce exposure and the associated impact of air pollution on the environment and people’s health.

Thus, this project aims to create the first air quality monitoring network in the province of Tucumán. This will initially allow the assessment of the current situation and, through data generation, enable the development of evidence-based public policies to effectively control sources of air pollutant emissions.


How will we do it?

The general objectives of this project are:

Implement the first hybrid monitoring network in the province of Tucumán using Federal Reference Monitors, complemented with integrated modules of environmental sensors (MISA).
Continuously and remotely monitor and report the presence and distribution of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other EPA criteria pollutants: particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5, and PM1), NOX, SO2, and O3 in the province of Tucumán through a cloud-based freely accessible platform.
Combine and assist in the rationalization of the results obtained during the air pollutant measurement campaign by combining environmental and climatological variables through the use of big data and specific programming languages to generate reports and publications in scientific journals with processed high-quality data.
To achieve these goals, we currently have the real-time monitoring network of the Breathe2Change initiative (add link to the project of the initiative). Its extension in the province is currently 29 MISA (Integrated Modules of Environmental Sensors), equipped with optical sensors for particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5, and PM1), CO2, and sensors for temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. Additionally, we have the first EPA-certified Federal Reference Monitors in the province for continuous monitoring of air pollutants (O3, NOX, and SO2). This equipment has been provided on a renewable loan basis by the Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research at the University of Wuppertal, Germany, and the Institute of Combustion Aerothermics Reactivity Environment of Orléans, France, for particulate matter, equipment provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

This work is possible thanks to scientific collaboration that began and is projected in the long term in atmospheric chemistry and air pollution research between the Atmospheric Studies Laboratory (LEA) of the INQUINOA (Northwest Argentine Chemistry Institute), a participant in this project, the Monitoring and Environmental Laboratory Directorate (DIMLA) of the current Subsecretariat of the Environment of the province of Tucumán, and other academic, governmental, and international institutions.

Regarding the provincial strategy, we aim to integrate our commitment to combating climate change across various sectors. In this regard, the academic and private sectors are researching how to structure our economic-productive matrix around sustainable growth. In the coming decade, we project an increase in our production in an environmentally friendly manner. Thirteen provincial companies have committed to reducing energy consumption by 3% without the need for investment. This is intended to modernize the energy sector and contribute to environmental conservation. Additionally, the reuse of waste from our major productive sources, sugarcane and lemons and their derivatives, is promoted for the production of biofuels (biogas and bioethanol).


What will we achieve?

Through this large-scale monitoring plan, we will, for the first time, identify and characterize the sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other criteria pollutants and their relative contributions to air pollution in the region. Additionally, it is expected to create and maintain the first web platform of its kind in the province to visualize all generated information in real-time. This will assist policymakers in adopting evidence-based public policies with public access and in creating institutional systems to address the issues of biomass burning and air pollution in the region.

This project will provide individuals, groups, and organizations with a tool to protect their environmental rights and access to information and participation in decision-making. It allows them access to clear, equitable, timely, and independent judicial and administrative procedures that consider the repair and remediation for environmental damage in case of infringement of those rights by the State or individuals.


La contaminación del aire causa la siguiente cantidad de muertes por año


Neumonía //


ACV //
Alzheimer //
Problemas cognitivos


Cardiopatías varias

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