Health & Science

Bike ride through Gulfton hopes to determine community air quality

A bike ride through Houston’s Gulfton community on Saturday will monitor air pollution. Air Alliance Houston is working with cyclists to collect air quality samples.

Bicycle road sign on asphalt

Air Alliance Houston is setting up riders with bikes equipped with air monitors that detect volatile organic compounds, nitrogen dioxides and particulate matter that can affect residents’ health.

The effects can currently be seen in residents of the area, according to the alliance.

​”They also contribute to a generalized array of what is generally experienced as the most common experienced symptoms of air pollution exposure, so breathing problems, heart and lung complications, asthma," said Anthony DeSouza, the alliance’s research and policy coordinator.

The hardware the bikes will be using is a battery powered air monitor. It'll be able to collect real time data in the areas that bikes drive in.

“It’s battery powered, and it’s also GPS powered, which means that as the bike riders ride through their community, they get live measurements of what the quality looks like at any given point within that bike ride," DeSouza added.

This bike ride is a part of a longer, ongoing effort to improve air quality in Houston, according to Gulfton ambassador for Air Alliance Houston, Alejandra Jaramillo.

"This event is a huge opportunity to collect real time samples of the air quality in the area," she said. "The route itself is six miles. It’s really intentional where we’re stopping."

The six mile route passes by a concrete batch plant, mechanics shops, and street-adjacent bike lanes. ​

The community and Air Alliance hopes to use the data collected from this ride to show to lawmakers in an effort to advocate for stronger air quality control policy.

"We have limited data, unfortunately, because we only have two air monitors in the area," Jaramillo said. "And that’s why we want to bring awareness to why we need them and why it’s important to think about those long term effects of pollution."

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