Analyzing air quality after conflict

The Dumpster Fire Project: Northern Gaza

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filed under "The Dumpster Fire Project"

by WFL

I decided to shift The Dumpster Fire Project's data collection to a new location: Gaza.

In all actuality the sensor is just north of the border in Israel, but as you can imagine, not many air quality sensors are currently running or being maintained in Gaza given the destruction and conflict in the region.

I wish I had considered tracking data in the region sooner; When I started collection, the AQI was pretty steady in the "Good" to "Fair" range..

..Until a couple days ago.

We saw steady ramp-up over an hour, pitching the AQI to 150 and above. It held at that level for 18 hours, until it steadily ramped back down to the previous ranges.

I can see no reason for the air quality shift. I checked outlets I thought might have some information, but.. Nothing.

The AQI spike was caused by fine particulate matter, which typically means pollutants. We're not talking anything like sand or pollen; This is stuff that's hazardous to everybody in large quantities, and not naturally occurring (aside from stuff like wildfires, of course).

Let me qualify it all with this: I don't think it's some conspiracy. In fact, it may be something relatively innocuous.

We just have so little information in the region because of the conflict itself; You're not going to see hyper-local reporting on something like road construction, or heavy traffic, because folks in the area are more focused on not starving to death..

..Well, the Palestinian civilians are, at least.

If you'd like to collect your own data and utilize the visualization I built, I've open-sourced it. You can fork the source code for the Dumpster Fire project if you'd like.