Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) awarded Air Sensor Grant Program funding to 39 communities across the Commonwealth to purchase 292 PurpleAir sensors and measure fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels for a period of one year. MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg notes the state’s commitment to environmental justice (EJ) and notes that 22 of the selected communities have EJ populations that often experience disproportionate effects of air pollution.
The Commonwealth hopes that air sensors within communities can increase awareness of PM2.5 levels and identify potential areas where mitigation efforts can protect public health.
MassDEP prioritized projects with sensor placements in or near communities with EJ populations, as well as projects partnering with residents, schools, and local organizations that work on public health and EJ issues.
Once installed, the sensors will measure PM2.5 levels in “real time” and transmit data to the PurpleAir Map, where it can be viewed through any smart device. The sensor data also can be viewed on U.S. EPA’s AirNow Fire and Smoke Map together with data from state-operated regulatory PM2.5 monitors.