Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science
Imperial County Community Air Monitoring Network (CAMN)
An Impacted Community
Imperial County, California, is a primarily Latino county with some of the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in the nation. Along with numerous environmental concerns cited by residents, including water contamination and pesticide use, air pollution is a major concern. For decades, the county has exceeded the state standard for PM10 for periods lasting over six months, and the county consistently has one of the highest asthma hospitalization and emergency room visit rates in the state for school-aged children.
Limited Data for Action
With a limited number of air pollution monitors in a county that spans over 4,000 square miles, the county’s air quality monitoring network has limited ability to measure air pollution hotspots of greatest community concern. While Imperial County has a historically active and committed population, this lack of information is an impediment to assessing and informing policies and practices to reduce exposures and improve health.
New Air Monitoring Project in Imperial County
In partnership with Comité Cívico del Valle (CCV), the University of Washington and other partners, the California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP) received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a 4-year community-based air monitoring research project in Imperial County, CA.
The project will engage members from impacted communities to design a Community Air Monitoring Network and to develop strategies to use data from the Network for public health action. A Community Steering Committee will play a key role in project design, implementation, and decision-making. Additional community members will engage in data collection, placing air monitors, results interpretation, and dissemination.
Participants from 11 neighborhoods of concern will define and map local hazards and assets to inform the placement of air monitors for the Network, highlight factors contributing to community vulnerability and resilience, and delineate cumulative exposures.
Community-Operated Air Quality Monitoring Network
The Network will consist of 40 low-cost, portable air monitors placed throughout Imperial County. The project will use an innovative approach to determine the locations of the monitors, incorporating community-generated data and community input, along with requirements for scientific rigor. Community members will set up and maintain the monitors, which will remain in the community after the project.
CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH VIDEO