Air quality monitoring

Monitoring air quality is the basis for air quality management. It helps to scientifically establish the pollution levels and their impact upon the population’s health and that of the environment.

Aire Limpio promoted the implementation of local monitoring networks, fully managed by municipal employees, based on accessible technology. In addition to the local networks, a national institution is coordinating and supporting the network, as well as monitoring the pertinence and quality of the generated information. The university, as a third actor in this scheme, provides technological support, training, data quality control and technical and scientific advice.

Air quality monitoring is the most important component regarding sustainability since it has generated an institutionalised system in Bolivia.


The Air Quality Monitoring Network was initially implemented based on three methodologies: passive tubes (ozone and nitrogen dioxide), active method (particulate matter PM10 for 24-hour measurements) and automatic method (carbon monoxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide). Subsequently, the measurement of particulate matter with automatic devices was included. 

Implementation in 12 Cities

The initial network was implemented in the cities of Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz and Santa Cruz. In a second stage, an Air Quality Monitoring Network was added in Tarija, Sucre, Trinidad, Oruro and Potosi, and finally in Tiquipaya, Quillacollo and Sacaba.


The contributions of Aire Limpio to the Air Quality Monitoring Network

Aire Limpio accompanied the implementation of monitoring network. With the aim of building a sustainable system, the project carried out following activities:

  • Registration of financial resources for personnel, equipment and generation of information on the state of air quality in the annual municipal budget.
  • Creation of the National Air Quality Programme (inside the Ministry of Environment and Water), in charge of coordinating local networks, air quality monitoring and control, and consolidating the national database.
  • Expert monitoring of the National Air Quality Management Policy and a preliminary supreme decree elaborated for its institutional consolidation.
  • Creation of the National Air Quality Reference Laboratory (Faculty of Engineering, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés) as the operative arm and technical support of the national authority and the Air Quality Monitoring Network, in charge of the periodic quality controls of the produced information, as well as of technical assistance, training, research and development.
  • Publication of the annual National Air Quality Report with all information generated by the local networks.
  • Starting-up the National Epidemiological Monitoring Plan related to atmospheric pollution (National Direction of Environmental Health, Ministry of Health).
  • Consolidation of the network of thematic experts on air quality in the fields of research and development (universities), studies and plans (specialist consultants), and services (suppliers of equipment, chemical reagents and technical support).