New York area schools, hospitals, organizations and community groups may soon be helping to monitor pollution in our water and air. The Environmental Protection Agency is offering local groups incredible incentives grants of $12,500 to $25,000, in exchange for data collected from their areas. The EPA is planning to compile the citizen-found data to create inter-region comparisons for study.

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By turning citizens into field scientists, the EPA can determine just how polluted a neighborhood is with the data collected. By monitoring air and water, they will be able to see how air quality can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood, and thus determine contributing causes (such as traffic, industry, etc). It will also give neighborhoods some facts to help with pleas to the government for clean-ups, or further testing, hopefully making any necessary action faster and more effective.

Aside from providing data, the monitoring program will also educate citizens on local air and water pollution, and inspire them to help take matters into their own hands by organizing community activities like park or beach clean-ups.

The EPA has already outfitted Bronx students with air sample devices. The devices have been placed on their backpacks andare able to monitor air pollutants during their commutes to and from school. The EPA is looking for five to ten more schools or organizations to volunteer with the monitoring system — they currently have $125,000 in grants to give away.

Interested organizations can fill out an application and find information on EPA’s website. Applications are due April 20, 2012.


Via New York Times

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