Investigating Air Quality in New York City Schools

Clearing the Air

On a Tuesday morning last June, students at the Bronx Center for Science and Math (BCSM) noticed they were having a tough time breathing. Canadian wildfires were raging—their smoke blanketing the east coast with haze—and New York City public health officials were urging New Yorkers to stay indoors.

The students at BCSM are no strangers to polluted air; in the neighborhoods of the Bronx, residents know that they suffer disproportionately from the air pollution caused by nearby dumps, waste transfer stations, and highways that cut through their communities.

But while Bronxites bear an unequal burden from air pollution, they often lack information on air quality conditions where they live, work, and go to school. Resources for the Future, in partnership with Fordham University and local environmental justice organizations, is changing this.

Partnering with BCSM students, our collaboration—the Air Quality Partnership for NYC Schools—is installing air quality monitors at 20 schools across the city. The information gathered from these monitors, paired with data from weather stations and the availability of HVAC systems and air filters, will help identify policy solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of students in New York City—especially those in underserved communities.

Air quality monitor programs can empower communities, like those in the Bronx, and provide decisionmakers with localized, accurate data to develop equitable clean air policies. But initiatives like these rely on the support from donors like you.

Please consider making a donation to support impactful research projects like these—and ensure that more communities have access to clean air.

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