Environment

County Air District Receives $2.5 Million for Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhoods

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The County’s Air Pollution Control District has received $2.5 million from the California Air Resources Board to help conduct air pollution monitoring in the district’s Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhoods community.

With the funding, the district will for the first time monitor the ambient air quality in Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights and parts of National City—the neighborhoods that comprise the Portside community—and take steps to reduce the air pollution and its harmful effects on residents. Ambient air is the air immediately surrounding people at street level.

Portside was one of the first 10 communities in all of California selected by the California Air Resources Board to be part of its Community Air Protection Program. The state air board created the program in response to California’s passage of Assembly Bill 617 in 2017, which aims to help communities that may be more vulnerable to threats from air pollution because they’re located near ports, rail yards, warehouses, industries and freeways.

Work in the community will include placing multiple air quality monitors in the four neighborhoods, collecting air quality data and using the district’s air quality improvement projects to reduce pollution. For example, encouraging businesses and people through monetary incentive grants to swap pollution-spewing diesel machinery and engines with electric or less-polluting diesel engines.

As part of the state’s program, the Air Pollution Control District is required to install, operate and start reporting data from the air quality monitors by July 1. The district already began monitoring efforts this month, ahead of schedule.

The district established a steering committee for the Portside program, which included members of the neighborhoods being studied, businesses, agencies and organizations. The district has been working with the steering committee on all aspects of the program, including site locations for air quality monitors. The district has already started air pollution monitoring at Sherman Heights Elementary School and will be monitoring at several more locations in the coming months.

For more information about the Air Pollution Control District and the Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhoods, go to the district’s website.

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact