Local organization presents one-year findings from its Community Air Monitoring Program
Contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, [email protected], 713.589.7079
Houston, TX – Air Alliance Houston and community partners unveiled today the findings from the first year of their Community Air Monitoring Program (C.A.M.P.), a citizen-science initiative to improve air quality and health. The data highlights, with local precision, the air pollution hazards present in five environmentally vulnerable communities in the Greater Houston Area: Gulfton, Kashmere Gardens, and Near Northside/Northline in the city of Houston and the cities of Pasadena and Galena Park/Jacinto City in Harris County.
The data collected by the five C.A.M.P. air monitoring networks indicate significant concentrations of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), a toxic gas linked to respiratory problems. In Galena Park/Jacinto City, the average monthly NOx concentrations were 3x the level of what the EPA says is allowable. Also in Galena Park/Jacinto City, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) which can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, triggering serious health conditions, exceeded the annual EPA maximum standard for 11 months compared to all other C.A.M.P. communities. Moreover, high levels of health-harming Ozone (O3) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as benzene and formaldehyde, were measured in several C.A.M.P. communities.
The results come from multiple low-cost air monitors installed and maintained by Air Alliance Houston and their community partners during 2022. The C.A.M.P. program aims to make information about air quality easily accessible to residents in environmentally vulnerable communities, so they can take steps to protect their health and then take action to protect their neighborhoods. Residents in these five C.A.M.P. communities are now using these real-time neighbood-scale data to pinpoint ways to reduce pollution.
More details of the C.A.M.P. air monitoring data for 2022 may be downloaded here.
According to Juan Flores, C.A.M.P. Manager at Air Alliance Houston and lifelong resident of Galena Park, “thanks to Air Alliance Houston and local groups, the community is taking air monitoring into their own hands creating an air monitoring network located right in the middle of neighborhoods and close to homes, schools, churches, parks and other places where our community members live, learn, work, and play.”
“Our Gulfton neighborhood suffers from a lack of greenspace and we have a high number of upper respiratory illnesses. Fewer trees means more heat, one of the key ingredients for ozone pollution,” said Sandra Rodriguez, President of the Gulfton Super Neighborhood 27. “Thankfully, we now have the tools to see and track in real time what the air quality is like, when it’s safe for our kids to spend time outside, and we look forward to using the data to demand for better policies that do not endanger our community’s health.”
For more information about the Air Alliance Houston’s Community Air Monitoring Program, including program videos and our live dashboards, visit airalliancehouston.org/community-air-monitoring-network/.
About Air Alliance Houston
Air Alliance Houston is a non-profit advocacy organization working to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution and advance environmental justice through applied research, education, and advocacy. For more information and resources, please visit www.airalliancehouston.org.