Public consultation on new CEC project to improve air quality for environmental justice
During its 2021 Regular Session, the CEC Council announced a new large-scale initiative to mitigate ‘black carbon’ for the improvement of air quality and support environmental justice in a local context. Following this announcement, the CEC Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) is seeking comments and suggestions from citizens across North America on a new CEC project under this initiative that will seek to improve air quality in local communities, by supporting them to better document and mitigate sources of black carbon and particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions.
Black carbon, or “soot”, is an important air contaminant that affects not only public health but also our climate. Sources of these emissions include agricultural burning, domestic wood combustion, and fossil fuel combustion from transportation and industrial activities. Our countries’ systems for monitoring air pollution have limited coverage, with millions of people across North America living in communities that have no means of measuring local air quality conditions.
This project will build partnerships with communities suffering from poor air quality conditions because of high emission levels of black carbon and particulate matter (PM2.5), as well as communities that potentially experience disproportionate environmental harm or risk, and/or have environmental justice concerns. A specific objective of the project is to work with local stakeholders to identify emission sources and monitor air quality, as well as to formulate potential emission mitigation strategies, assess their benefits, and implement them.
The project will deploy low-cost air pollution sensors in communities that will allow them to better document, understand, and mitigate sources and exposure levels of black carbon and particulate matter emissions, while increasing transparency and access to air quality information for local populations and decision makers.
Based on comments received from the public, JPAC members will provide an Advice to the Council of the CEC, which is composed of the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States. This Advice will include recommendations for the implementation of the project and suggestions on key organizations for potential collaboration and partnerships in order to maximize the project’s successful implementation.
The deadline to submit comments in writing is on May 19, 2022.
The full text of the draft project description is available here: Air Quality Improvement for Environmental Justice.
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