Why communities must initiate environmental research
By Ayanna King
African Americans living in the eastern corridor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have long been concerned about environmental health and justice issues such as transportation, pollution and health problems like asthma. In 2002 and 2003, the Pittsburgh Transportation Equity Project (PTEP), a community-based Initiative that seeks to empower African Americans, decided to conduct an air monitoring study near a local public school, Reizenstein Middle School, located a block away from the Port Authority bus garage. To determine local air quality, particularly the concentration of particulate matter, in the community, we sought the help of three groups: East End Neighborhood Forum, Group Against Smog and Air Pollution (GASP), and Chatham College toxicology students. GASP, a nonprofit citizen's group, trained the Chatham students to monitor the air in different sites on different days. The students also collected research on asthma and diesel particulate emissions.