It’s not enough to measure and monitor air quality. Communities need to use that data to take action to mitigate risks. Doing so ensures improved air quality and healthier environments for residents. 

Six Strategies

Here are six strategies for leveraging the data collected from a localized community-based air quality network:

  1. Message the Severity of Readings to Spur Action: Learn and communicate about the actual severity of PM2.5 issues in areas where people live and work and in commuting corridors so that appropriate actions, such as re-routing commuting or exercise (running/bicycling) routes, can be taken. 
  2. Use Weather Patterns to Implement Mitigation Efforts: Implement mitigation efforts where they are most needed by analyzing the weather, including wind direction and speed. Weather is key to understanding the pollution movement. 
  3. Target Pollution Sources: Use the data to identify the sources of pollution within the community and build a plan to target them directly. 
  4. Inform Facility Planning: Plan appropriate locations for facilities (like playgrounds) to protect the most sensitive individuals (like children) to the safest (lowest local pollution microclimate) areas.
  5. Correlate air pollution to health: Improve models that relate air pollution to health effects. Use the data to develop appropriate and actionable location-based health messaging. 
  6. Spark Policy Changes: Air quality data can spark a long-term re-balancing of growth patterns and residents’ health. Use the data and its implications on health to change policies. 
Wasatch Mountain Tops Visible in Polluted air
Only the tops of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah are visible as an air pollution inversion hangs over Salt Lake City on February 3rd, 2023. Photo by Glenn Ricart.

Stay Tuned

In the next blog posts, we will explore the advancements in air quality sensor technology spurred by the feedback provided by the Air Quality Working Group. We will also highlight funding opportunities available for community-based air quality monitoring projects. Stay tuned for more, and reach out if your community wants to develop an air quality monitoring network.