SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Air pollution alerts are common in the Sacramento area, especially when weather conditions or large fires can endanger the health of residents.
But now, small solar-powered monitors have been placed in the Del Paso Heights and Oak Park neighborhoods to give a more focused picture of air quality.
“We know that some of the most underserved communities in our region are also the most polluted,” said Patrick Guild, Chief Operating Officer at Breathe California Sacramento Region.
The fact is there are not air monitoring stations in underserved communities, like parts of North Sacramento and Oak Park. Whether the air in those areas was breathable or not was guess work.
Using a company called Clarity, 20 wireless, solar-powered monitors were placed in the two neighborhoods at locations chosen by residents.
“ZIP codes should not determine health,” said resident Nykchasia Scott.
She helped locate the rooftop monitors around schools, parks, homeless encampments and freeways.
“This intersection is a perfect example because you can see how busy it is out here. I think the community had suspicions that all of these cars and all of this traffic might be a contributing factor,” Guild said.
The monitors are tied directly to a Valley Vision web portal so residents can determine when it’s safe to be outside and what activities are safe. Scott hopes more data will bring more solutions by identifying the source of air pollution and finding ways to reduce it for vulnerable populations.
“I would hope that it would bring more resources to impact future generations and the generations that are currently living in the community,” Scott said.
The project is sponsored by a coalition of community and environmental groups who want to make a difference in underserved communities.