BERNARD expands portfolio in the field of «environmental monitoring»

Hawa Dawa Air Quality Monitoring becomes part of the BERNARD Gruppe

The BERNARD Gruppe, an internationally active family-owned engineering services company, has acquired the product portfolio of Hawa Dawa as of March 1. From now on, the technology and know-how for monitoring air quality are part of the specialized solutions of the BERNARD Gruppe. Leer más

Improve Air Quality with a smart data approach

In an interview with DKSR – Data Competence Center for Cities & Regions, Martin Montag, Head of Sales Public Sector, explains how environmental data can achieve significant added value thanks to data platforms and why inter-municipal cooperation provides the best basis for rapid progress.

Read the full interview here

An AI Story

A short while ago, our Sentience System went through one of its toughest challenges: We had just won a tender in one of Europe’s largest capitals. In the next phase, our solution was benchmarked against competitive hardware products from two traditional hardware manufacturers. Both are big players in the industry with a combined existence of nearly 250 years, around 400.000 employees and multi-billion dollars in revenue. Leer más

AI is more than ChatGPT: How Hawa Dawa has been successfully integrating AI in the core of the air quality monitoring method

ChatGPT is really cool. Since it was launched to the public in November 2022, ordinary people from a wide variety of different areas have been testing it. They have played around with it and tried to determine how they can work with it in the most meaningful way. „ChatGPT is a conversational artificial intelligence model developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a large corpus of text data from the internet and has the ability to generate human-like text based on the input it receives“, ChatGPT explains itself.

So with ChatGPT, AI has become somehow more tangible for all of us. We can immediately see the result of the AI work and evaluate it. We understand: AI has arrived in our daily lives.

Hawa Dawa recognized the opportunities of AI for environmental monitoring from the very beginning. AI is – together with the advanced measurement device – the core of Hawa Dawa’s air monitoring method. The Hawa Dawa method leverages multiple advantages of AI, such as Leer más

COP15 Biodiversity Agreement: By 2030, Achieving 4 overarching global goals with 23 targets?

After two weeks, the UN Biodiversity Conference ended on 19 December. The so-called COP15 (15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity), held under the auspices of the United Nations (UNEP – UN Environmental Program) and chaired by China and hosted by Canada, adopted the «Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework» (GBF – «Global Nature Agreement»), which contains four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030.

Almost 200 countries were involved in the negotiations. The core of the joint final declaration is formed by the 23 nature conservation goals the global community wants to implement by 2030 to halt the dramatic loss of species and ecosystems. In addition to the financing of the measures, the role of indigenous peoples has also been highlighted: The steps should take into account the rights, traditions and knowledge of these peoples.

The agreement was celebrated as a success, but it is also criticised for being too sketchy and too diffident. The agreement has no legal effect, and it is now up to the participating countries to push for its implementation with appropriate means.

Here is a selection of the agreed targets (the complete declaration can be found here) wich shows that the desired success will only be possible with a joint approach by governments, industry and society.

  1. Effective conservation and management of at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas and oceans, with emphasis on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. The GBF prioritizes ecologically-representative, well-connected and equitably-governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories and practices. Currently 17% and 10% of the world’s terrestrial and marine areas respectively are under protection.
  2. Have restoration completed or underway on at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems
  3. Reduce to near zero the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance,including ecosystems of high ecological integrity
  4. Cut global food waste in half and significantly reduce over consumption and waste generation
  5. Reduce by half both excess nutrients and the overall risk posed by pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals
  6. Progressively phase out or reform by 2030 subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least $500 billion per year, while scaling up positive incentives for biodiversity’s conservation and sustainable use
  7. Mobilize by 2030 at least $200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources – public and private
  8. Raise international financial flows from developed to developing countries,in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and countries with economies in transition, to at least US$ 20 billion per year by 2025, and to at least US$ 30 billion per year by 2030
  9. Prevent the introduction of priority invasive alien species, and reduce by at least half the introduction and establishment of other known or potentially invasive alien species, and eradicate or control invasive alien species on islands and other priority sites
  10. Require large and transnational companies and financial institutions to monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity through their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios.

In the video, David Ainsworth, Information Officer Convention on Biological Diversity, explains the outcome and the context.

The Great Smog 1952: Anniversary of an Urban Environmental Disaster

How a disaster became the starting point for clean air legislation

The beginning of December marked the 70th anniversary of unprecedented air pollution in London. It led to 10,000 deaths and 200,000 serious illnesses. The »Great Smog» was a severe air pollution event that hit the British capital from 5 to 9 December 1952: a cold spell combined with unfavourable high-pressure weather and calm winds led to a build-up of air pollutants that formed a thick layer of smog over the city. Visibility in London dropped to below 2 metres.

The excessive burning of coal caused this heavy pollution. The impacts of the smog on the human respiratory system killed 4,000 people in the days of the smog and another 6,000 in the months that followed. Every day for five days, according to the British Meteorological Service, 1000 tonnes of smoke particles, 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and significant amounts of other gases were released.

The Great Smog is the period with the worst air pollution in British history. At the same time, it was also a significant event in terms of its impact on environmental research, government regulation and public awareness of the link between air quality and health. In 1956, the Clean Air Act was passed in the UK. Corresponding laws and regulations followed throughout Europe.

Karim Tarraf at the Digital Summit in Berlin: Creating digital value together

The German Digital Gipfel (digital summit) is the central platform for shaping the digital endeavour with all those involved. Representatives of the federal government and key companies of the digital economy will meet at the Digital Summit 2022 on 8 and 9 December. Our CEO, Karim Tarraf,  is there together with the other members of the Beirat Junge Digital Wirtschaft.

The focus of this year’s summit is the topic of data economy. This year, the Digital Gipfel, with its extensive network, will focus on the question of how the data economy, as a driver of digital transformation, can increase the opportunities of digitalisation. Events, exhibits and showcases will inspire stakeholders to make the world more efficient and sustainable with the help of digital technologies and data-based applications.

With the mission of «Creating digital value together», the potential of networked data is to be used for the challenges of our time – from innovation and competitiveness to smart, safe and sustainable mobility to the working world of tomorrow.

World Soil Day 2022

Today is World Soil Day 2022. World Soil Day was proclaimed in August 2002 by the International Soil Science Union (IUSS) at its 17th World Congress in Bangkok. This day of action draws attention to the vital importance of our soils as a natural resource. But why are our soils so crucial for our entire ecosystem? What damage is already occurring, and what are the consequences for the future?

Healthy soils as the basis for a functioning ecosystem

95% of global food production depends on healthy soils. Through the food value chain, we are also directly dependent on healthy soils. Regardless of whether we are talking about plants directly consumed as food or whether the plants grown are animal feed for livestock. The basis for both is healthy soils. If this factor is negatively affected, this also has direct consequences for food and feed production.

What damage from poor soils already exists today?

Soil pollution has a direct or indirect impact on all living organisms.

Soil pollution disturbs the balance of beneficial substances contained in the soil. Unnatural, dense substances accumulate in the soil and change its physical properties. Chemical wastes affect (cultivated) plants and harm their biological characteristics. Heavy metals, gases and other wastes accumulated in the soil deteriorate the development and quality of the plants. These negative changes in the soil spread in chains and are transmitted to plants, animals and humans.

What if we continue to be careless with our soil?

As a result of ever poorer soils, it could become increasingly difficult to feed the growing world population in the future. The efficiency with which we have achieved ever-increasing yields in the past is approaching its zenith. After that, any increase in food production efficiency will become more expensive and uneconomical. As a result, the proportion of the world’s undernourished population could rise again.

Desertification ensures that the dry soils can only absorb a small amount of water. More and more floods and inundations could be the result. Air quality also interacts with soil quality. Poor soils and desertification, for example, ensure less and less biodiversity and plant growth (biomass). Less plant mass also means less storage of pollutants (e.g. CO2). The pollutants in our atmosphere are broken down more poorly.

Update of the EU Legislation for Air Pollution: Time to Take Action

At the end of October, the EU Commission presented a proposal for updating the guidelines on air quality. The stricter limits for individual air pollutants may be considered the core part. Additionally, the proposal stresses the relevance of air quality more than the previous legislation. Below you will find a short summary:

In 2020, the European Green Deal already included the reference that the EU limit values should be more closely aligned with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Last year, the WHO significantly tightened its recommended guideline values to consider the scientific findings on health effects gained in recent years. Even though the new thresholds in the EU Commission’s draft are not as strict as the WHO recommendations that have been in force since 2021, they have become much more rigorous. For NO2, for example, they mean that more than half of German cities currently do not comply with the new limit value of 20 µg. According to the draft, there is time until 2030 to ensure compliance with the new thresholds through appropriate measures.

In addition to tightening the thresholds, the draft introduces a compensation claim for citizens who suffer health problems due to air pollutants, and the EU air quality regulations are violated. Collective compensation claims for damages by non-governmental organisations are also to be possible.

In addition, better information for the public on air quality is also planned.

Next, the EU Parliament and the EU Council will decide on the EU Commission’s proposal. Approval by the EU Council is expected, so cities need to take action, as most cities’ current air quality plans will not be sufficient for complying with the new thresholds.

First Hawa Dawa measurement device deployed in the USA: plug-and-play

We are proud to have our first Sentience Measurement Device installed in the USA (Sacramento). It is a significant step to enter business in a country on another continent.

Additionally, the installation and deployment of the device provided evidence that our processes and technology are professionally defined and elaborated. So, in California, it was a true plug-and-play installation: The customer followed the steps in our installation manual, and the Sentience device just started working and provided data.

The Sentence device was installed and deployed thousands of miles from our home base with zero issues. This demonstrates that our hardware, connectivity options, and processes are robust and 100% ready for standard field roll-out:

  1. A detailed installation handbook supports our customers for a smooth self-setup
  2. Our remote performance monitoring works beyond borders and would detect issues immediately
  3. Our connectivity options (LoRaWAN, GSM/EDGE, and LTE-M) are ready for global use.