You don’t have to travel far from Newport Beach to find people focused on the future of air quality — we travelled to AQMD Headquarters yesterday where we saw a glimpse of monitoring’s exciting future.
Neither Los Angeles nor Orange County meet regulated thresholds for ozone and particulate matter, and that’s a challenge, but it’s only a part of the driving forces at work with emerging technology that some see as a game-changer.
New technology will empower individuals and increase public awareness like never before.
Picture a future when we’ll make decisions based on personal air quality monitoring.
- Parents could choose schools based on air quality.
- People might decide where to live by checking their personal air toxics sensor.
- Athletes could avoid areas with bad local toxics
- Politicians would have nowhere to hide when it comes to air quality concerns
- Take the family out for a wood-fired pizza? Maybe not if the sensor picks up wood smoke air toxics.
The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association recently brought together regional air quality regulators, public health experts, university researchers, EPA environmental experts, data gurus, and business and community members to look at next generation air quality measuring. Their seminar, “My Air Quality: Using Sensors to Know What’s in Your Air,” attracted a crowd.
HabitatMap’s Michael Heimbinder presented his company’s mapping tools for environmental tracking
With all that energy in the room, who wouldn’t believe we’re on the verge of a new age of air quality awareness. Are you breathing Air Toxics (particulate matter, benzene and lead) or Climate Forcers (carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon)? Just ask your personal air quality sensor.
What if your smart phone was also an air quality monitor?
Sensor technology that can measure what you’re breathing is exploding. Will Google Glass have an influence? The marketplace is eagerly responding to a need to know what’s in the air. Air Quality agencies now offer an impressive collaboration to guide the public’s understanding of reliability, data interpretation, and best use of new technology.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is leading the way with a new Sensor Testing Center, AQ–SPEC. Someday soon you may be able to borrow an air quality sensor from their lending library of personal monitoring equipment. They plan to test emerging technology and assist consumers with choosing sensors and interpreting data.
Back in Newport Beach a few foolish politicians still believe they can dismiss air quality concerns from beach bonfires. They don’t realize the future will be leaving them behind — it’s inevitable. Kids in elementary school will have an app. Parents in Huntington Beach will realize that their kids are breathing air toxics at the public beach. Athletes will demand smoke-free air. Breathers will be empowered.
Welcome to the dawn of a new age of air quality awareness.