Houston has an air pollution problem. And it is bad for people’s health. Over the past 20 years, we have taken steps to reduce air pollution, but our region’s sprawling petrochemical network, busy port, limited mass transit, and climate mean we face lung-damaging smog, and other harmful pollutants like cancer-causing benzene. The latest American Lung Association report card gave Harris and Montgomery counties an “F" for air quality.
This is not ok.
- The way we track and measure air pollution is outdated and inadequate. Current stationary monitors for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are often spaced miles apart. This is a problem because we now know that air pollution can vary by as much as eight times within one city block, and living in the hotspot can increase the risk of heart disease and death in the elderly by 40%.
- You cannot manage what you do not measure. With sensors spaced miles apart we have an incomplete understanding of the air pollution problem – and that is a barrier to protecting people’s health and reducing harmful emissions.
What’s the solution?
- Innovative technologies hold tremendous potential for improving that understanding. Mobile sensors can measure invisible pollutants. When mounted to vehicles, these technologies can collect data on a block-to-block level, and it doesn’t take very many – 10 to 20 of the right vehicles could map most of a city.
- Air pollution data will empower people to take action. Air pollution data informs policy makers, companies, and scientists to determine where air pollution problems are most acute and tailor solutions that protect our health and the environment. This data can inspire clean air and climate action.
One Breath Partnership supports the science and stories that show the effects of Houston’s air pollution problem. Your signature shows support for the movement for cleaner air and the data and technology we need to protect our health and that of our family and neighbors.
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