UU Manchester has joined the Manchester NH NAACP in a project to measure the air quality in Manchester. With a grant from the Nature Conservancy, the NAACP has purchased monitors; and in addition UU Manchester’s Social Responsibility Committee has purchased a monitor, which has now been installed at the south end of our Church, outside of the lounge.
The NAACP is finalizing a list of potential sites for the monitors to reside and to connect to Wi Fi so they can transmit data. Afterwards, the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Committee will be working with NH Department of Environmental Science to make sure that those monitors are mounted in a place to give consistently clean data collection. Little placards may be mounted somewhere near the monitors so that passersby could learn about the program, why we are doing it, what air quality is, and why it’s important for community health.
The NAACP will place at least eight of these monitors and distributing them around the city strategically. The idea is to put a couple of them in some of the Census tracts where people are most disadvantaged, like the center of the city, a couple of neighborhoods on the west side, and then a few in some of the more suburban areas in the city. The idea is not only to monitor air quality in the city but to establish a data set that to determine if there is consistently better air quality in certain areas. This will take some time to look for longer-term trends and spikes.
The NAACP will ask for the Manchester Health Department to help them analyze and synthesize this data. The program will help educate community members about why air quality is important. When the experts say they’re beginning to see trends, or they’re beginning to see statistically significant events, the NAACP ECJ Committee will be the communicators, and the advocates, to help people in the community understand what these readings mean.