A New Path Forward
The Camden Collaborative Initiative’s Air Working May meeting was an incredibly productive and significant step forward for our work towards improving the air quality in Camden. Within the last two months, our group has realized that focusing our energy on a truck ordinance might not be the best use of resources and time when it comes to making the city of Camden a healthier place to live simply because we lack significant data. For example, how can we identify which trucks are causing the most pollution? Who do these trucks belong to? What would be the alternative route that these trucks would take and would new roads have to be built to accommodate them? These are only some of the problems that we continue to debate without a simple solution.
However, our partners have not given up. We’ve decided to shift our focus to a more direct objective with a clearer path on how to reach it. This realization came in the form of a presentation given at the latest meeting by Dr. Maryam Karimi of Rowan University. Dr. Karimi presented her research which can be summarized in the following bullet points:
- Locating areas/ neighborhoods in Camden, most vulnerable to Urban Heat Island(UHI) and air-pollution.
- Introducing Rowan’s three air quality impact models to measure environmental, social and health risk.
- Application of innovative technology in determining the effects of urban morphology and vegetation on the UHI Effect.
- Studying exposure and cancer risk by light and heavy-duty vehicle emissions.
- Studying exposure impact due to traffic volume in the residential area.
This data is exactly what we’ve been looking for to establish baseline data of which parts of Camden need the most attention when it comes to air pollution and other environmental hazards. Dr. Karimi’s presentation also gave us methods of mitigation when it comes to how we can improve at-risk communities once they’ve been identified. These strategies include, tree and other vegetation planting, painting surfaces of buildings a lighter color, and targeting large asphalt covered surfaces that trap heat.
Now that we have this new information and tool on our side, it’s easier for us to establish a concrete action plan of what we can do to reach our goal and leverage the resources needed to implement it.
About the Grantee
The Camden Collaborative Initiative (CCI) is a solutions- oriented partnership between governmental, private, non-profit, and community based agencies formed to plan and implement innovative strategies to improve the environment and quality of life of Camden's residents.
Cohort: South 2
Funder: New Jersey Department of Health