David Palomino, Administrative Analyst III, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency – Office of Strategy & Innovation
A major part of living well is having a sense of “space” or place where one can rejuvenate, be refreshed emotionally, or to just be able to enjoy being outside. This sense of well-being while outside is enhanced when we experience clean air.
The Live Well San Diego Indicator: Physical Environment measures the number of days in the month that air quality is rated poorly. Looking at numbers from 2010 to 2018, San Diego County has experienced a slight increase in days with poor air quality, from 13.4% in 2010 to 17% in 2018.
In 2018, air quality was rated poorly 5 out of 31 days.
To help improve this measurement, local governments are taking the lead to help create healthy environments. On February 14, 2018, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to improve climate resiliency, expand environmental stewardship, support the local economy, and move towards a more sustainable future. Many other jurisdictions have also adopted their own climate action plans, including the City of San Diego, City of San Marcos, City of Chula Vista and City of Carlsbad.
In addition, the County of San Diego Air Pollution Control District monitors and forecasts local air pollution levels and allows county residents to check their current, local air pollution level using their zip code. They were recently awarded $2.5 million from the California Air Resources Board to help conduct air pollution monitoring in the district’s Portside Neighborhoods and take steps to reduce the air pollution and its impacts on residents.
Below are Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners who are working to improve the environment and air quality within San Diego County. San Diego residents can take part by learning more and participating in some of their upcoming events.
With the People, For the People
Casa Familiar, a Community Development Agency in San Ysidro and South San Diego, works to involve and engage residents in issues affecting their community. They have been leading the community outreach efforts for the San Ysidro Community Air Study, a multi-organizational effort which began in 2016 to better understand air pollution health risks faced by communities. San Ysidro is a community near one of the busiest border crossings in the world which may result in exposure to additional pollution. This study is implementing the placement of several low-cost sensors throughout the community.
To learn more, please visit https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/general-info/san-ysidro-community-air-study.
Advocating for Clean Commuting
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, helps make our environment cleaner by promoting bicycling as a safe and enjoyable form of transportation through working with cities in the region to create safer bicycle infrastructure such as bike paths, lanes and trails. More bicycle commuters in place of cars helps to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality and the health of San Diego County residents.
They have a number of reoccurring events each month to engage all levels of cyclists, including Basic Road Safety Classes, Smart Cycling Road Sessions, educational events for adults and kids, and Urban Sites, Bikes and Bites Food Tours.
For more events, visit https://sdbikecoalition.org/events.
Be a Commuting Hero, (Even If Just For One Day)
Another way to switch up your commute is by participating in SANDAG’s iCommute Progam. Each year, SANDAG is the local host of the annual national Bike to Work Day, which will be held this year on May 16. While every day is a good day to commute by bike, Bike to Work Day is a particularly fun day for cyclists, with pit stops along the way offering refreshments, swag and comradery with fellow cyclists.
Last year, more than 10,000 San Diego residents participated in this event. To register and be a part of the fun, visit: https://www.icommutesd.com/bike/biketoworkday2019.aspx.
In addition, iCommute has funded the Go by BIKE mini-grant, which enables 21 organizations including many Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners to host free biking programs and events for all San Diego County residents from March – June 2019. To see the list of these events, click here.