Using Citizen Science to Address Air Pollution

October 23, 2020 10:00 am — 11:30 am

Co-sponsored by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE)

Poor air quality is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our day. It is particularly difficult to address because of the localized nature of impacts. Various groups have successfully used community science to address other environmental threats such as water pollution. But air quality monitoring devices have historically been too costly for nongovernmental organizations.  However, it has become increasingly clear that traditional government air pollution monitoring programs do not provide information needed to address the impacts communities are facing.  The focus of traditional air pollution monitoring has been on area-wide pollutants which allowed the use of regional monitors to detect pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide. Studies conducted in Los Angeles over the past two decades (the Multiple Air Toxics Emissions Studies) found using neighborhood scale monitoring that quite localized risks from air toxics exposure could be quite high compared to those identifiable at the regional scale, and thus create significant public health risk. At the same time, new, low-cost air quality monitoring technologies have become available to communities, enabling them to assess air quality on a local scale.

Session 3 of INECE’s webinar series on citizen science and environmental enforcement will look at how novel and more affordable air monitoring technology has evolved, and how those sensors are being used to address air quality concerns, particularly by community groups raising environmental justice issues.  The session will examine some of the technologies that are now available to community scientists and what agencies can do to address issues of quality of data from these devices; it will then look at initiatives in the field, both in the US and in developing countries. The session will also show how government agencies are using new technology to encourage public reporting of possible violations to their compliance and enforcement programs.


George Wyeth
, ELI, Moderator
Kelly Crawford, Associate Director, DC DoEE Air Quality Division
Calvin Cupini, Citizen Science Manager, Clean Air Carolina
Tim Dye, Principal, TD Environmental Services
Philip Osano, Centre Director, Stockholm Environmental Institute