U.S., Mexico to Assess Air Monitoring Network

Earlier this week in Tijuana B. C., Mexico, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Environmental Protection Agency of Baja California, the California Air Resources Board and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission initiated the Baja California Air Monitoring Network coverage assessment study and the Tijuana-Rosarito Emissions Inventory.

Funded by EPA through a $173,000 cooperative agreement with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, the studies will shed light on the major sources of air emissions – reflecting the area's population growth and consequent increase in vehicular traffic and factories – along the Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate and Mexicali corridor. Updating a 1999 study, these data will be used as a planning tool to help protect public health and air quality from exposure to harmful emissions

"These binational projects will significantly improve our ability to understand, predict, and ultimately control the harmful affects of air pollution on both sides of the border," said Lorena Lopez-Powers, associate director of EPA's San Diego Office. "The more we understand about emission sources, the better we can develop strategies to control them."

Since the 1990s, the California Air Resources Board operated the air monitoring network in Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate and Mexicali. In March 2007, network ownership and operation transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency of Baja California, which now collects and reports valuable air quality data from these stations with the California Air Resources Board and EPA support.

It is important to maintain and periodically evaluate the air quality monitoring network in northern Baja to make sure it continues to provide an accurate representation of air quality in that area. Real-time data from this network are available to everyone on the Environmental Protection Agency of Baja California's Web site.

Both the United States and Mexico will use that data in analyzing the air quality along the border and in developing effective air pollution control programs in southern California (Imperial and San Diego counties) and northern Baja California (Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate, and Mexicali).

The U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program protects the environment and public health for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. Border 2012 seeks to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship.

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