Shared Air/Shared Action (SA2): Community Empowerment through Low-Cost Air Pollution Monitoring

EPA Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities Grant

Kansas State University (KSU) and seven partners propose to address air monitoring needs in South Chicago through the creation of the Shared Air/Shared Action (SA2) project.

ABSTRACT

Project Overview

Residents of Environmental Justice (EJ) communities often contend that limited regional air pollutant air monitoring does not adequately report on perceived air pollution from local sources or address the relative health risks of proximity to local sources. This concern exists in a variety of EJ communities across the United States with the south side of urban metropolis Chicago, Illinois a prime example.

Our hypothesis is that communities will become more engaged in improving their environmental surroundings if they are provided with relevant scientific and technical tools, including low-cost portable sensors and appropriate technical assistance for air pollution monitoring.

The  partnership will address the first two research questions in the solicitation:

  • How can low-cost air pollution sensors be used by communities to understand and reduce the pollutant concentrations to which they are exposed?
  • How do communities and individuals interact with low-cost portable air pollution sensors?

To address these questions, we will explore and evaluate the ability of residents in four very diverse communities to a) conduct air monitoring using low-cost portable air pollution sensors and b) effectively communicate, interpret and use the data that is generated to engage in activities that will improve environmental and human health in their communities. Our research will evaluate, compare and contrast how non-EJ and three very different types of EJ communities can effectively measure air pollutants and create community-specific communication strategies to disseminate the data generated to their residents.

Partners:

*Kansas State University

* Alliance for a Greener South Loop

* Delta Institute

*Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

* People for Community Recovery

* Respiratory Health Association

* Southeast Environmental Task Force

* University of Illinois at Chicago

* University of Memphis

*The community partners represent three Chicago EJ communities, (one African- American, one Latino/a, and one blended Eastern European/Latino/a) as well as an integrated urban non-EJ community.