APIOPA Travels to San Diego to Advocate for Clean Air

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By Scott Chan

Last Thursday, Scott and Kyle carpooled (because you know, air pollution and all) to San Diego to meet with the US and Taiwan Environmental Protection Agencies to discuss the next steps of our local air pollution work.

People often wonder why APIOPA is doing work on air pollution. To us, obesity prevention isn’t just about what we eat and how much we exercise. Environment is crucial. How do we encourage a community to eat healthy if there are no healthy options in their neighborhood? How do we encourage them to exercise more if their local park is not safe due to gang activity?

8643823585_fa0139615a_bAs with those examples, APIOPA questions how we encourage youth to be physically active when their school is located right next to the freeway. Thanks to our intern Keisha Macon, we have identified over 20 schools in the San Gabriel Valley that are a few hundred feet from the freeway. While we cannot move the freeway or the school, there is still a lot to do. APIOPA had spent the past few years working with youth from Mark Keppel and Glen A Wilson high schools to do educational workshops for students, collect air data using low cost air sensors, and advocate to local elected officials for needed changes. Read more about our school work here

So back to SD. Currently APIOPA is being funded by the US EPA to do air pollution workshops in Los Angeles County with middle school to college-level students. While these workshops are an important first step, they are also limited. After many of the workshops, students ask what they are suppose to do with this info, especially if they find out just how bad the air is around their school.

We went to SD to talk shop with the EPAs about how we can make meaningful and impactful change with the local communities. You’ll be happy to know that the meeting went very well and we are hoping this next phase of our work with schools and air pollution will start soon!

As always, more to come.

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