Sampling the City


Sampling the City

Monitoring Our Air

Equipped with hyperlocal air pollution data, residents and policymakers can better identify, remediate and prevent pollution sources and their associated health risks in communities. 

The issue

As one of the most heavily polluted U.S. metropolitan areas with lax land-use policies and sprawling residential development, Houston has many industrial and transportation-related air pollution sources located in close proximity to communities, often those of color and low-wealth.

The current public monitoring network has been designed with the intent of determining compliance with federal air quality standards and is therefore largely inadequate for identifying localized sources of air pollution that could put residents’ health at risk on a daily basis. 

What we’re doing

In December 2020, we organized an inaugural air quality awareness social bike ride, where groups of air quality enthusiasts cruised around Houston neighborhoods — taking air quality samples along the way — to bring attention to local air pollution and raise money for Air Alliance Houston. The data collected during the rides was insightful and we are working on expanding this research with a focus on environmental justice communities. In June 2021, we partnered with communities to sample the air in Sunnyside, OST-South Union and Fifth Ward. Watch here the recording of the Data Review session on the three latest events.

Our aim is to help empower local residents with air pollution monitoring technology which will inform, educate, and help mobilize advocates to influence public policies that improve air quality — ensuring clean air for all Houstonians.

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