Leonardo DiCaprio joins forces with Comité Cívico Del Valle to expand Salton Sea air quality monitoring

To my knowledge, no organization in the U.S. has achieved as much using citizen science as the Brawley, California community and environmental justice group Comité Cívico Del Valle.

Comité Cívico, working with a network of academic, governmental, and other partners, has built a community-based air quality monitoring system consisting of 40 monitors spread across the sprawling and dangerously polluted Imperial Valley; the IVAN environmental reporting system, which allows citizens to document and report environmental problems; a task force that follows up on the problems that citizens report, and much more.

The result? Empowered, knowledgeable, and engaged residents who are committed to make their community a better and healthier place, and have the tools to do it.

Last week, Comité Cívico gained a new ally  – Leonardo DiCaprio, who announced that his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will donate $100,000 to install and operate 20 new air monitors to monitor deadly chemical-laden particulate matter blowing from the rapidly drying Salton sea – perhaps the biggest environmental health challenge the region faces.

Also last week, perhaps inspired by Comité Cívico’s successes, the California State Legislature passed a bill, AB 617, which authorizes the deployment of community air monitoring systems in polluted communities across the state.

Knowledge is power, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s support will help empower the residents of the Imperial Valley to fight for one of the most fundamental human rights – clean air to breathe.  

To learn more about community-based air monitoring, join members of Comite Civico and dozens of other MFN organizations at the FREE 4th International Conference, and check out the references at the end of this post.

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gives $100,000 toward monitoring pollution at Salton Sea (Desert Sun)

How community air monitoring projects provide a data-driven model for the future (Environmental Defense Fund)

In California’s Imperial Valley, Residents Aren’t Waiting for Government to Track Pollution, Yes Magazine

Imperial Valley gets an F grade in air quality by American Lung Association, KYMA

Advancing Environmental Justice: A New State Regulatory Framework to Abate Community-Level Air Pollution Hotspots and Improve Health Outcomes (Goldman School of Public Policy)

CALIFORNIA’S AB 617: A NEW FRONTIER IN AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT…IF FUNDED (Center for Clean Air Policy)