Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Wednesday that it has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to DPH, the money will be used to monitor air quality in distressed communities.
The agency is planning to use the money to set up a series of low-cost air sensors to monitor pollution, as well as a digital dashboard that will provide information on the effects of poor air quality.
The educational element will also move into local schools playing host to those air quality monitors. The grant also provides for community engagement and education.
“Climate change and its effect on public health is one of the overarching initiatives here at DPH,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD in a statement. “DPH will implement actions that enhance health equity, increase resiliency, and ensure Connecticut communities are prepared for the health impacts of climate change which include improving air quality.”
The goal is to cut down on bad health outcomes associated with poor air quality.
“We know poor air quality exacerbates asthma and other respiratory illness, especially among sensitive groups,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “The studies this funding will support will provide additional data and insights which will inform the development of future DEEP policies to improve air quality in our environmental justice areas and supplement our other air quality monitoring efforts.”
According to the EPA, poor air quality can be especially harmful to higher-risk groups including children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions. Low-income communities can also carry a higher risk due to proximity to industry, lack of access to proper nutrition, and lower health standards as a result of socio-economic conditions.