Cars line up at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, thought to be the busiest land port in the world. Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The first in a network of low-cost air-quality monitors to study cross-border air pollution impacts was unveiled Saturday at the nation’s busiest border crossing in San Diego.

More than 50,000 vehicles pass through the San Ysidro’s port of entry each day and now the border crossing will have the first of 13 air monitors to help track changes in air quality and inform state efforts to identify communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution, according to California Environment Protection Agency Secretary  Matthew Rodriquez

The network is part of an effort to better understand and address cross-border air pollution impacts, Rodriquez said.

“Border communities are impacted by pollution sources from both sides of the California-Mexico border,” Rodriquez said. “This community-led project will improve our understanding of the pollution burdens faced by the residents of San Ysidro.”

The data from the monitors will enhance the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s community environmental screening tool, CalEnviroScreen, which will help assess environmental conditions in the area.

A group of San Ysidro residents are being trained to maintain the monitors and examine the results for themselves in a coordinated effort with scientists from San Diego State University and the University of Washington, Rodriquez said.

The rest of the air monitors in the network, which will track how concentrations of fine particulate matter and other pollutants change over time and within the San Ysidro community, are expected to be in place by Oct. 1, Rodriquez said.

— City News Service

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