Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG)
On August 4th, Calvin Cupini, Citizen Science Program Manager presented Clean Air Carolina’s AirKeepers Program at the Western NC Air Quality Conference at Lenoir Rhyne University. This annual event traces back to 2007, and is organized by the WPCOG, an organization to serve local government members in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. The conference is a perfect intersection of local municipalities, local industries, public health organizations, public education agencies, environmental advocacy groups, state and federal agencies staff and other public groups and private citizens to meet and discuss air pollution and North Carolina air quality concerns.
Citizen Science and the
Internet of Things
Clean Air Carolina’s presentation introduced to the conference our statewide air pollution concerns, such as ozone and particle pollution, along with a showing a map of gaps in air monitoring around the state. The presentation focused on the AirKeepers work pushing forward the field of citizen science, and adopting the latest air monitoring technologies. The conference attendees were given several science examples, like the Audubon bird count, as well as crowdsourcing applications like Waze. Calvin showcased how small, internet-connected devices can operate in a network to fill gaps where there aren’t monitors to inform local residents of hyper-local air pollution in real-time.
Among the speakers were representatives from North Carolina Division of Air Quality (NCDAQ) who spoke on the topic of the recent wildfires and their effects on public health. The Department of Environmental Quality was also on hand to discuss preliminary details of the Volkswagen settlement plans. In total, roughly 140 attendees participated in the two-day event.