This community-based study will assess air quality around San Jose schools and develop methods of reducing pollution there. Special attention will be given to Washington Elementary and other schools in the Greater Washington neighborhood.
In Santa Clara University’s backyard, in San Jose, surrounded on three sides by Guadalupe Parkway, I-280, and US 101, the population of the Greater Washington Neighborhood potentially faces a high risk of exposure to near-road air pollution. The Air Quality Initiative builds on previous research assessing the cumulative environmental impacts in Santa Clara County and seeks to understand the distribution of exposure to high concentrations of hazardous pollutants at public elementary schools in Santa Clara County and to identify potentially useful and locally preferred mitigation strategies to enhance community health, access to environmental benefits, and environmental justice, especially in the Greater Washington Neighborhood. Faculty members from the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, student researchers, and key community partners are researching collaboratively to measure concentrations of critical air pollutants along the edges of school properties, identify key environmental hazards that impact student health and learning, use geographic information system (GIS) software to analyze socioeconomic and racial enrollment data, and explore preferred mitigations measures.