Alaska Air Quality: How this Community in Alaska is Paving the Way
Have you ever worked in the field?
Fieldwork is an important part of any scientific study, and that’s what one non-profit is focused on doing in Alaska. For decades, this Alaskan community has been working hard to protect their communities and wildlife from harmful substances.
Recently, we also learned that they’ve been using PurpleAir monitors as part of their current research projects—and we’re thrilled to highlight their efforts today.
We’re always looking at what is happening in our PurpleAir Community to see what kinds of projects are going on. Together, we’re cultivating a community of scientists and empowering them with the data they need to tackle air pollution all over the world.
Because at PurpleAir, we believe in making air quality knowledge accessible to everyone.
And we’re not alone in that mission.
Today, we’ll explore the groundbreaking research being done at the edge of the continent by a non-profit organization in Alaska.
Who is the Alaska Community Action on Toxins?
The Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) is a non-profit organization that works to protect the health of Alaskan communities and their ecosystems from hazardous chemicals.
Founded in 1994 by Pamela K. Miller, ACAT advocates for the public’s right to know about toxic substances and works alongside local communities to develop effective strategies for reducing exposure levels. At the same time, they are also preserving the land and water sources that sustain them.
Their mission is to empower citizens through education and research, as well as implement policies based on the precautionary principle to reduce potential harm from toxic chemicals.
For decades, they have been striving to protect Alaska’s most vulnerable populations, including Indigenous peoples, by working towards access to clean air, soil, and water for all. Beyond their community work, ACAT also works directly with industry sources responsible for producing hazardous chemicals.
They believe that by providing technical assistance and support, they can help companies adopt more environmentally safe practices that will benefit both human health and ecosystems across Alaska. And we’re honored to be a part of that mission.
How They’re Using PurpleAir Monitors
In 2022, a group of over 30 participants from ACAT was involved in the Community-Based Environmental Health Field Institute. This year, participants were educated all about air quality and pollution while they were gathered in Nome, Alaska.
While they were together, ACAT highlighted the harm caused by Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5). They then engaged in a community mapping exercise to identify sources of pollution in their communities. By using technology and data from PurpleAir’s air quality monitors, participants were able to show how PM2.5 was reaching their villages from the landfill by wind and other natural elements.
When we first heard about this research ourselves, we also donated 4 air quality monitors to the project to help them further their research. With our donation, more volunteers were able to use the air quality monitors in their respective communities. Now, they have real-time air quality data on air pollution levels around their schools, tribal council offices, homes, and more.
We’re looking forward to seeing the impact this data and field research has on Alaskan communities in the future. Like ACAT, we believe in empowering local community leaders & organizers with real-time air quality data now and for generations to come.
Get Involved with PurpleAir Yourself
At PurpleAir, there are tons of community projects going on around the world. We’re thrilled to see these kinds of collaborative efforts in the PurpleAir Community, and we look forward to seeing plenty more in the future.
Are you working on a community project with PurpleAir’s air quality monitors?
We would love to hear about it. Share a post in the Community Project forum, then we can highlight your work. Together, we can make air quality accessible for everyone.