Our everyday choices affect and change the environment in one way or another. It is, thus, essential to change traditional economic and consumption models, which are overly dependent on the unsustainable use of natural resources. To preserve our environment and effectively address current challenges, we must start by understanding them. IoT can help to improve environmental monitoring and understand the drivers. With IoT, you can continuously monitor the environment in real-time.
Water pollution is one of the main threats we currently face. Considering water scarcity and that only 2.5% of the water on Earth is fresh water, of which more than 2/3 is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps, managing it to guarantee its safe and unpolluted supply is crucial.
Fresh water is constantly used by industries as a cooling and solvent to enrich the quality of their products. When that water is poorly managed or treated, it can end up in the environment causing serious harm (e.g., degraded ecosystems and diseases). Traditional water quality monitoring systems rely on manual methods, which are time-consuming, cost-intensive, and prone to errors and inaccuracies. IoT water systems, in contrast, provide stakeholders with an uninterrupted stream of real-time water quality data to make knowledgeable decisions on how to treat it or to timely detect the spread of harmful pollutants.
IoT sensors can measure multiple water parameters such as nitrogen and phosphorus concentration, chemical composition, electrical conductivity, pH, turbidity, salinity, temperature, pressure, and more. Due to their flexible nature, IoT solutions can be applied in countless ways to monitor, manage, treat, and conserve water efficiently and safely.
Several carbon-intensive industries are working towards more environmentally friendly processes and techniques to mitigate their environmental footprint. IoT can help address current concerns relating to carbon capture technologies (including concerns about CO2 leaking back to the atmosphere) as the key to efficient carbon capture is proper management of the system. Since one cannot manage what one does not measure, IoT provides continuous real-time data about performance, condition, and the impacts on the environment. In addition, IoT gives decision-makers predictive and preventive capabilities, allowing managers to make more informed decisions, and provides confidence when reporting or disclosing environmental information.
Captured CO2 is sometimes used as a feedstock for the production of certain products, for example, for the growth of flowers and crops in greenhouses. IoT systems ensure continuous insight into the CO2 levels in the greenhouse and how these influence the conditions. IoT can also monitor how plants use and absorb CO2, thus providing insights to adjust concentrations and optimize production.
Each year, more than 9 million people die from global pollution, which makes it the largest environmental risk factor for premature death and disease. Greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and F-gases) from industry mainly involve fossil-fuel-based energy consumption; emissions from chemical, metallurgical, and mineral transformation processes; and emissions from waste management activities.
Through the deployment of IoT sensors and technology, IoT monitoring systems can support the industry to detect abnormalities or specific conditions that can have an ecological impact, and thus trigger alerts or start addressing the inefficiencies through automated processes. In that sense, IoT environmental monitoring solutions help the industry and governments achieve their sustainability and efficiency goals.