Sampling the City

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

The Houston metropolitan area has over 600 chemical and manufacturing facilities, over 150 concrete batch plants, and more than 140 metal recycling facilities that can expose residents to harmful air pollutants.

Greater Houston Partnership, 2021
Harris County Pollution Control, 2021
Texas DPS, 2022

What We're Doing

Hyperlocal air pollution data can help residents and policymakers to better identify, remediate and prevent pollution sources and their associated health risks in communities.

Since 2020, we have partnered with Houston communities, including Sunnyside, Fifth Ward, OST-South Union, and the East End, to cruise their neighborhoods on bicycles with personal Flow 2 air quality monitors to bring attention to local air quality and pollution sources. The data collected during these rides have been insightful, and we are working on expanding this citizen-scientist research with a focus on additional environmental justice communities.

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