CALEXICO, Calif. - Comite Civico del Valle Director Luis Olmedo said Imperial Valley residents are under attack by particles invisible to the naked eye.
“It seems that we are constant assault of these particulates that are being generated through industrial sources, anthropogenic sources, in other words, human movement, industrial operations,” Olmedo said.
On Tuesday, he took state officials to several county sites where the IVAN (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods) air monitoring systems are located.
California Air Resources Board official Richard Corey said, “It’s really important in terms of understanding the air quality and understanding the opportunities to further reduce emissions so we can have healthier air quality. Looking for how we can partner with the community down here.”
He said Tuesday’s tour helps the state in deciding where to place environmental project funding.
“It’s always looking at that. Funds matter but it’s not the only solution here,” Corey said.
Another CARB official called the IVAN system unique.
“This air monitoring network of 40 monitors around Imperial Valley, monitoring particulate matter. And frankly I haven’t really seen anything like it,” Veronica Eady.
She applauds the participation of community and schools.
“Educating kids but also using the school system to put up flags that notify people in the area and in the school about what the air quality is so they can adjust what they’re doing,” Eady said.
Olmedo said air contaminants pose a serious health hazard.
“Can affect your lungs and cause respiratory problems such as asthma. The smaller particulates can be from diesel sources and carbons, and so on. Those are actually so tiny they penetrate to your blood stream and can cause other problems like cardiovascular disease, for example,” Olmedo said.
After the tour, state officials came to one conclusion.
“We need to reduce emissions down here,” Corey said.
Imperial Valley residents can get more information on air quality by going to www.ivan-imperial.org