Out of sight, out of mind: participatory sensing for monitoring indoor air quality

Environ Monit Assess. 2020 Jan 8;192(2):104. doi: 10.1007/s10661-019-8058-z.


In southern Chile, epidemiological studies have linked high levels of air pollution produced by the use of wood-burning stoves with the incidence of numerous diseases. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study explores the potential of participatory sensing strategies to transform experiences, perceptions, attitudes, and daily routine activities in 15 households equipped with wood-burning stoves in the city of Temuco, Chile. The results suggest that the experience of using a low-cost sensor improves household members' awareness levels of air pollution. However, the information provided by the sensors does not seem to improve the participants' self-efficacy to control air quality and protect themselves from pollution. The high degree of involvement with the participatory sensing experience indicates that the distribution of low-cost sensors could be a key element in the risk communication policies.

Keywords: Air quality perception; Low-cost sensors; Persuasive technology; WhatsApp diaries; Wood-burning stoves.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Chile
  • Cities
  • Community Participation
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Wood / chemistry


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter