By Kyle Tsukahira
On Saturday, December 6th we had the opportunity to lead a workshop with high school youth from the Promoting Youth Advocates (PYA) club at the new Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) satellite office in Monterey Park. It was a great opportunity to train the youth on how to use the airbeam sensors made by Habitat Map which were lent to us by the Environmental Protection Agency of Taiwan (EPAT) earlier in October. We had the chance to measure air quality levels both inside the building and outside around the community.
One of the innovative features of the airbeam sensor is that it can connect via bluetooth to an android smart phone and record data using an application called, “Air Casting,” which displays the information in a very easy to read grid (like the one in the picture above). It can also utilize the phones GPS system to map out where you are recording air quality levels. All the information gathered on the Air Casting app is crowd sourced into an online database which is monitored and reviewed by Habitat Map which is shared publicly at www.aircasting.org .
Starting in January 2015 we work with the youth to begin air quality testing on a regular basis at both their school and around their community. We want to take this data and compile a more comprehensive report highlighting the long term air quality levels over the course of their Spring semester. This in turn will be presented to local stakeholders and elected officials in order to advocate for cleaner air at Mark Keppel High School (which is located directly next to the 10 freeway). We are hoping this is just the first step in making the San Gabriel Valley a cleaner, healthier, and more environmentally sustainable place to live.