By Barbara Branning
Release Date: November 21, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo has been selected to receive federal funding to conduct air quality monitoring in the city of Buffalo.
The project is one of seven initiatives in New York State to receive funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. Nationally, 132 air quality projects in 37 states will receive a total of $53.4 million from the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan.
The EPA grants are aimed at improving air monitoring in underserved communities across the country. The projects focus on communities that have been historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution.
The UB project will receive $499,963 to gather air quality data at sampling sites in Buffalo’s East Side using low-cost portable environmental sensors. By integrating the collected measurements with existing data, such as satellite-derived aerosol optical depths and data from ground-monitoring networks, the project’s researchers will develop an air quality prediction model specific to the communities they are serving.
“With this funding from the EPA, we will use low-cost, ambient air pollution sensors to collect more detailed and community-specific air quality data from Buffalo’s East Side, a predominately African American neighborhood whose residents are more like to suffer from serious, chronic and often preventable diseases,” said the grant’s principal investigator, Eun-Hye Enki Yoo, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“We will convert this data into useful information that will help policymakers and community organizers reduce these adverse health outcomes, especially for disproportionately affected individuals,” she said.
“Air pollution has a significant impact on health outcomes, especially in marginalized communities,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. “This is particularly evident in Western New York, given our community’s industrial past.”
Higgins said the UB program will help community leaders develop ways to improve the health and wellness of the most vulnerable members of the Buffalo community.