Organizations focused on improving air quality in Central Valley

Brittany Jacob Image
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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Thanks to Assembly Bill 617, there are air quality monitors in disadvantaged communities throughout Fresno helping to reduce air pollution exposure.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local organizations are taking action to improve air quality right here in the San Joaquin Valley with the support of state policy.

Thanks to Assembly Bill 617, there are air quality monitors in disadvantaged communities throughout Fresno helping to reduce air pollution exposure.

Kevin Hamilton with Central California Asthma Collaborative says exposure to air pollution can affect everyone's health.

"It's hard to stop something if you don't know where it's coming from," he says.

Thanks to AB617, a community steering committee, which is made up of people who live and work in the area, has been formed to reduce pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.

There are now air monitors around the city of Fresno to help pinpoint where the pollution is coming from.

"AB617 is actually forcing the agencies to more aggressively regulate these businesses - force them to clean their operations up, which will in turn, improve the health in these communities overall. There will be less pollution in their water, less pollution in their air," Hamilton says.

Several disadvantaged communities within this boundary will have additional funding with focused efforts to reduce emissions in those areas.

The San Joaquin Air Monitors are in South Central Fresno -- mainly at school sites like Edison High School.

Jessica Olsen with the Valley Air District says areas of concern are not only heavy duty trucks, but also idling cars, and even residential wood burning.

"This part of Fresno has a variety of different freeways and highways. All of the freeways in Fresno really cross through that community and actually, the number one source of emissions throughout the Valley and certainly within that part of Fresno is heavy-duty mobile sources," Olsen says.

But Hamilton says the solution for reducing air pollution will not happen overnight.

"This isn't magic - it won't happen in a week or a year. It'll take, we estimate, at least five years to actually see the impact," he says.

If you're a resident living in these communities, your voice can be heard. For more information on joining the AB617 community steering committees, email AB617@valleyair.org