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State Allocates Half A Million Dollars To Monitor Air Quality In San Ysidro

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, speaks in San Ysidro, Aug. 3, 2018.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, speaks in San Ysidro, Aug. 3, 2018.

UPDATE: 3:26 PM, August 3, 2018

Every day in 2017, about 70,000 vehicles crossed into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, one of the busiest border crossings in the world. The wait time is often more than an hour — and the idling cars and trucks create a lot of pollution.

To help better understand the issue and monitor air quality in San Ysidro, the California Air Resources Board is giving Casa Familiar, a community development agency in San Ysidro, a grant of $492,269. The money will go towards installing more than 100 new air quality monitors including some indoor monitors for places like schools. The results will guide the state on which areas have the biggest needs for air pollution clean-up efforts.

Reported by Katie Schoolov

California State Senator Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, says his district has communities with some of the poorest air quality in the nation.

RELATED: San Diego County’s Most Polluted Neighborhoods Could Get New Air Monitors

“We have one of the busiest and most trafficked border crossings in the world here in San Ysidro. We have a lot of people that come visit San Ysidro, they pass through San Ysidro, they do business in San Ysidro and of course that has its air quality impacts. And the people of San Ysidro have been dealing with those impacts for many years, asking for support of local, state and federal government.”

A collaborative study released earlier this year showed air quality drastically decreased in San Ysidro when border wait times exceeded 90 minutes. (link: San Ysidro: Air Quality and Border Traffic Study)

Health officials say the toxins are tied to lung and heart problems, especially in children and the elderly.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

An air quality monitor on the roof of Casa Familiar is shown, Aug. 3, 2018.

“In San Diego, we know 400,000 patients have asthma. Especially in San Diego County, we know 15% of children have had that diagnosis,” said Dr. Maria Carriedo-Ceniceros, Vice President & Chief Medical Officer at San Ysidro Health.

“What also affects San Ysidro is, disproportionately, asthma affects minority children, children of lower socio-economic status, and those that are exposed to poor air quality.”

“As parents, we want our kids outside. We want them playing. We want them running around and getting exercise and activity. Yet if the air quality is poor, we’re actually exposing them to unhealthy air.”

Casa Familiar has already installed 13 air quality monitors in the border region.

“This is a very important program that will kick off a data-gathering campaign that will help guide the State in terms of where to make improvements, and where to pass policies that will help offset the poor air quality people are currently experiencing.”

San Ysidro is one of 28 regions statewide to receive money to monitor their air quality over the next two years.

The California Air Resources Board will also hold a series of informational meetings to seek guidance on developing the program including the following questions:

– How is a community defined?

– What is the best way to make pollution data more accessible?

– What type of emissions sources or facilities affect your community the most?

– What are the main pollutants of concerns for community air monitoring?

The next meeting will be held August 7.

Results from the monitors will be published in the next 12 months in a report and you can monitor data displayed here.

Read Original Below:

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Friday addressed the California Air Resources Board's recent $492,000 donation to Casa Familiar to continue air quality monitoring in San Ysidro.

Hueso will discuss the grant with board chair Mary Nichols; David Flores, Casa Familiar's director of community development; and Maria Carriedo- Ceniceros, vice president and chief medical officer of San Ysidro Health.

Monitoring is critical to improving air quality and meeting health standards, according to Hueso's office.

In 2017, an estimated 70,000 northbound vehicles crossed the San Ysidro Port of Entry each day. Research found that idling vehicle traffic had a "significant impact" on air quality in surrounding communities.

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Friday addressed the California Air Resources Board's recent $492,000 donation to Casa Familiar to continue air quality monitoring in San Ysidro.

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