Air Alliance Houston community outreach coordinator Paula Torrado and our team of field interviewers spent the months of October and November conducting surveys for the Pasadena Community Project. Our dedicated team of canvassers has worked tirelessly to engage with north Pasadena residents and educate them about air quality.
Project goals and current results
The Pasadena Community Project’s main goal has been to capture residents’ perceptions of environmental and safety concerns about air quality, health issues, neighborhood conditions, and Hurricane Harvey experiences.
We collected a total of 1,025 completed surveys, all of which were collected from north Pasadena neighborhoods near Red Bluff Elementary, Richey Elementary, Pasadena High School and Gardens Elementary. These schools were chosen due to their proximity to pollution sources such as refineries, chemical plants, manufacturers, and truck traffic. Through our canvassing, we learned that many residents are concerned about their health due to air pollution caused by Hurricane Harvey. We found that of 1,025 completed surveys, 417 participants reported experiencing a combination of different symptoms during and after Hurricane Harvey, including allergies, asthma, excessive coughing and eye irritation.
Residents also raised several health concerns that they believe to be linked to air pollution in the area. These include respiratory health issues, asthma in children, and skin and breast cancer in adults. Other concerns include pollution from cars and refineries, poor neighborhood maintenance, excessive traffic and idling, and the need for better sidewalks and bike lanes for children’s commutes to school.
Safer Routes to School Project
As another aspect of our canvassing efforts, Air Alliance Houston has also been supporting Harris County Public Health’s Built Environment program on the Safer Routes to School project, collecting key information and data for the Pasadena Community Project.
The Safer Routes to School Project, put on by HCPH and partners, has created opportunities to increase the number of children walking and biking to school, including walkability/bike safety workshops, bike rack donations to schools and parks, and Bike to School/Walk to School Day events. Within this partnership with Harris County Public Health, we have contributed our expertise and support during the Walk and Bike to School Days at both Richey Elementary and Red Bluff Elementary.
During these events, we leveraged the opportunity to advocate for cleaner air and promote the anti-idling ordinance that would help to reduce diesel emissions and, in turn, improve children’s health. For both Walk/Bike to School Days, we used our air sampling bucket to collect air samples during school pick-up/drop-off hours to better understand the air pollution children are exposed to.
Looking toward the future
As we continue to conduct the Pasadena community surveys, we would like to thank all the north Pasadena residents who willingly talked to us and shared that they want to see improvements in their neighborhoods. We are also grateful for our canvassing team’s hard work, as they have worked diligently to carry out our mission and goals.
We will complete our canvassing next week, hopefully reaching our goal of 1,500 completed surveys. We will work to be mindful when using this data to advocate for cleaner air policies, the protection of public health and many other improvements for the city of Pasadena. We will also continue to work with the community to increase awareness and engage residents to talk to their local elected officials about their concerns. In the meantime, we also hope to continue to collect important information to help us bring change for a healthier future in the Pasadena community.