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What Is Air Quality Monitoring and Why Is It Important?

Not all air quality monitoring is created equal. Neighborhoods that are predominantly Black and/or Latinx are not held to the same standard as predominantly white neighborhoods when it comes to accurately monitoring and communicating air quality data. This only exacerbates environmental racism.

installation of an air quality sensor on campus
Installation of an air quality sensor on the Campus Operations building.

Environmental Racism

Environmental racism is the disproportionate distribution of environmental burdens and lack of environmental benefits in communities of color. This includes having more polluting facilities or lacking access to healthful food or green spaces in these areas.

Air monitoring is vital to clearly assess and understand air pollution. It’s important to pay close attention to air quality to maintain healthy levels and limit air exposure if unhealthy levels are reached. Monitoring air quality also helps alert communities to extreme events, such as fires, so they are able to take action if necessary. When air monitors are not held to the same standards, or are unevenly distributed across neighborhoods, communities that are already disadvantaged face even worse environmental and health consequences.

How SCC Is Addressing Air Quality

To address this, The Sac Metro Air District and the City of Sacramento have partnered together to distribute a total of 100 air quality monitoring sensors to residents, citizen scientists, businesses, and school districts in priority areas to collect, share, and promote air quality awareness in our underserved communities. Sacramento City College was chosen to participate in this project and now has a PurpleAir air quality sensor installed at the Campus Operations building on East Road, under the official location name “Sacramento City College”.

This sensor allows students, faculty, and surrounding residents to get real-time air quality fine particulate matter information (e.g., smoke, dust) in order to make informed decisions on their daily activities. This is especially important during extreme air quality events such as wildfires. You can look at the air quality information from this sensor by searching “Sacramento City College” on

Sacramento City College is excited to be a part of this important initiative and help the community begin to address this intersectional issue relating to public health, racism, and environmentalism!


Sustainability Coordinator: Sophie Wheeler
Phone: (916) 558-2543

Campus Operations

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