For this month's wellness blog, we talked with Calvin Cupini, the Citizen Science Program Manager with Clean Air Carolina. Clean Air Carolina is a statewide initiative aimed to raise North Carolina's air quality to exceed that of scientific recommendations. Calvin joins us to discuss the importance of clean air, and to give us information on how to get involved with the AirKeepers Program that Clean Air Carolina is facilitating.
After reading the blog below, I encourage you to reach out to Calvin at Calvin@cleanaircarolina.org to find out more about pollution levels in your community, and to see if you can get involved. When talking about health and wellness in park and recreation, I think it's very important to consider the many different environmental factors that influence our health.
Clean air is extremely important for overall community health. Air pollution is one of the world's largest environmental health risks. A major pollutant that causes public health issues are called particle pollution - which is invisible, solid, and liquid matter floating in the air. Particle pollution varies by location, and concentrations can be dramatically different across town.
Particle pollution monitors are extremely important to help us keep track of pollution levels in our communities. Through the AirKeepers program, we are attempting to better monitor pollution by establishing a county-level monitoring network to gather scientific data on particle pollution exposure and to connect impacted communities with information needed to protect their health and advocate for change.
Clean Air Carolina is reaching out to individuals and organizations across the state who want to participate in the next revolution in understanding our environment through community-lead participatory science. People all over North Carolina are taking data collection into their own hands, from the Coastal Federation in Wilmington to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Center. We now have monitors running at the Cherokee Welcome Center, the public library of Johnston County, the Greensboro Science Center, and on the barrier island in Kill Devil Hills near the site of the Wright brothers’ first flight.
This represents one of the largest community air monitoring projects in the world. The data has been used by researchers to track wildfire smoke, build detailed models of air pollution hot spots, ground truth NASA satellite data, and more.
We need your help to build a network that addresses environmentally impacted communities across the state, particularly those located near sources of pollution. We are interested in locating monitors in communities whose health is disproportionately affected by air pollution (communities of color, low-income, children, and seniors).
The 30 remaining counties in need of air sensors (marked in blue) are all located in areas that have never had access to air quality monitoring. Here’s what we need in the remaining counties:
A site with 24hr outside power about 6ft off the ground with good access to fresh air
A location with 24hr wifi access (for streaming data to a public site)
A point of contact in case there’s an issue. (rare, but things happen)
Can we count on you to help us reach our goal of 100 counties? If so, contact me at Calvin@cleanaircarolina.org and let’s get started!
To find out more about Clean Air Carolina, please visit their website at cleanaircarolina.org.
Until next time,