Delano hosted its second air quality meeting to inform residents of the benefits of air monitors in the community. Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) advocates talked about the AB 617 program, where the program takes place, and how other communities can take steps to participate in AB 617.
AB 617 is a program that supports communities to invest in programs that reduce emissions locally.
“The benefit that comes from hosting air monitors is very diverse, from being able to have real-time air quality data at your fingertips to taking personal actions in your everyday life to minimize toxic exposure,” said Sammie Meneses, climate and environmental justice associate at Central California Asthma Collaborative. “In addition, air monitors provide a great alternative to slow and far-away monitors the government currently runs.”
There are already air sensors in Delano and across the Valley. CCAC operates the SJVAir network, a community-based air sensor network deployed in communities and focusing local schools as site host locations to create dual utilization of both an air network and STEM opportunities with the students.
Cecil Avenue Middle School is one of the schools where an air monitor has been installed. Parents can look at sjvair.com for real-time data or if they want to see when students are kept inside the classroom due to bad air quality.
“We are currently working on a mobile app, but people can get real-time data by visiting sjvair.com,” said Meneses.
When the air quality is bad there are many options for residents to take to protect themselves from bad air pollution. One easy step is to wear a proper face mask and cover while high PM 2.5 pollution outside, usually an N95 mask will do for high dust days.
“Delano residents and leadership can look up SJVAir and look for trends in low and high AQI. Then they could use this information to take personal precautions,” said Meneses.
Some adverse health effects due to bad air quality are respiratory issues such as an increase in asthma exacerbations, risk of heart attacks, or premature deaths.
“Contributing factors to the poor air quality in Delano is emitting emissions from industrial facilities and truck traffic. Monitoring the air quality and providing residents with information,” said Meneses.
Meneses said attending these meetings is important because they can provide the information the community needs and resources that will help protect residents and their families from the effects of air pollution.
“It is essential for students and adults to attend these meetings. As students, they can learn from the adults that are living in the community now and help protect themselves and their families for future generations,” said Meneses.
Menses said the goal of them coming to Delano and having these meetings is to provide education to the community and be advocates for what they can do to protect themselves and their families.
The next meeting will be on March 15 at Ellington Community Center, 925 Ellington Street Delano, CA, 93215.