Thursday, December 2, 2021

Play

Michiganders mourn the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and SCOTUS Justices signal willingness to back a Mississippi abortion prohibition law.

Play

The Supreme Court debates abortion rights; Stacey Abrams will again run to be Georgia's governor; and Congress scrambles to avoid a shutdown.

Play

Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

EPA Using Low-Cost NC Sensors to Collect Air-Quality Data

Play

Monday, August 30, 2021   

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency is now including data from a network of low-cost air sensors in North Carolina in its official air-quality mapping system.

More than five years ago CleanAIRE NC launched its Citizen Science AirKeeper Program to monitor air quality in Charlotte. Since then the group has expanded its network of monitors measuring invisible fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 across the state.

Exposure to PM 2.5 is linked to asthma, heart and lung disease, and even dementia.

Maria Sharova, citizen science manager with CleanAIRE NC, said technology has made it possible for people to track their local air quality with low-cost sensors that can be placed near emissions sources.

"So we've expanded out past Charlotte," said Sharova. "And now our next direction is to do, we're calling them cluster networks, in other areas of the state where there are again these communities that are more impacted by air pollution than others."

She explained that the number of gas stations, industries, animal feeding operations and other permitted PM 2.5 facilities, as well as the number of schools and households with young children, will factor into where the additional sensors are placed.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 40% of Americans - more than 135 million people - are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

Sharova said about 75% of air monitors are located in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by social and environmental indicators such as socioeconomic status and proximity to highways, and tend to be predominantly Black and Brown communities.

"People living in those areas are more predisposed to health problems," said Sharova, "more predisposed to not having the funds to deal with the health problems, or make their homes safe."

University of North Carolina, Charlotte Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Brian Magi said the low-cost sensor data can compliment the EPA's federally regulated - and more expensive - PM 2.5 monitors.

He said low-cost sensors can be placed in more regions and used as a tool to empower communities.

"It raises the possibility of a conversation with the industries that are building in the backyards of communities," said Magi, "for developing a relationship that goes beyond the paperwork of getting an emission permit from the EPA."

He noted this summer many residents in the Western U.S. ravaged by wildfires turned to low-cost sensors to measure air quality in their regions, many for the first time.

The EPA added data from more than seven thousand low-cost air sensors to the map to supplement its monitors. Magi explained the agency corrected the data from the low-cost sensors to make it more comparable to data from the regulated monitors.



Disclosure: CleanAIRE NC contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Civil rights groups are pushing Baltimore County to create a second majority Black council district to better represent its diverse population. (Flickr)

Social Issues

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …


Social Issues

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nearly seven in ten Americans say billionaires are not paying their fair share in taxes, according to a new survey. Among likely …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Over the coming weeks, North Dakotans will be clicking the "purchase" button as they order holiday gifts online, and fraud experts …


Front-line pandemic workers in Minnesota feel the state is failing them in recognizing them for their work during the crisis, as they were not allowed to work remotely. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- Several regional labor groups rallied in Minneapolis on Wednesday, demanding state leaders take action to reflect the sacrifices made …

Environment

GREENE, Iowa -- The proposed Build Back Better bill is getting attention for a host of funding possibilities, including one area flying under the …

The Republican-created legislative and congressional maps, passed by the Wisconsin Legislature in November, were quickly vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers, teeing up a legal battle. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MADISON, Wis. -- In a four-three decision this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court backed a "least-change" approach to redistricting in the state…

Social Issues

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Michiganders are mourning the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and advocates …

Social Issues

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Labor protests and strikes are on the upswing this fall, compared with 2020 when everyone hunkered as the pandemic closed …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021