State of California donates air pollution monitoring equipment to Mexico’s Baja California

For Immediate Release

May 6, 2015 Contact:
Melanie Turner, (916) 322-2990

SACRAMENTO – The California Environmental Protection Agency is donating surplus air monitoring equipment to the Environmental Protection Agency of Baja California to help bolster its air monitoring network along the border. Particulate matter samplers and other air monitoring equipment to be donated next week will help support existing monitoring stations throughout Baja. Better air monitoring helps governments on both sides of the international border to better understand the air quality picture in that region.

Last July Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environment officials signed an agreement to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. One area of particular focus in the memorandum of understanding is air quality, calling for increased monitoring and specialized equipment in exchange for technical information on air quality.

The California Air Resources Board is set to deliver the equipment May 12 in El Centro, California, where Baja will take delivery. The surplus equipment was once used by ARB, which has an extensive air quality monitoring program, collecting accurate real-time measurements of ambient level pollutants at more than 40 sites throughout California.

Equipment being donated includes a handful of particulate matter monitors and supporting equipment, including instruments that perform checks on gaseous analyzers to ensure proper performance (ozone, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen); and data loggers that plot graphs to show air pollutant and temperature trends in a graphical format.

In related news, ARB has been awarded a grant from the U.S. EPA to perform a monitoring study of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the city of Mexicali. This two-year study will begin in late 2015 and help inform future control strategies. PM2.5 comes from diesel exhaust and other sources and poses a health concern because the tiny particles can be inhaled and accumulate in the lungs.

For more than a decade, the ARB has worked with the United Mexican States and the Free and Sovereign State of Baja to monitor ambient air in the Mexicali area, either by working on site or working indirectly through monitoring contracts. ARB also has provided assistance with laboratory analytical services, training and certification of calibration standards. Air quality data collected in Baja with ARB support is made available to the public through ARB’s air quality databases and helps inform air pollution control and policy decisions on both sides of the border.