Community-Based Science

Port Richmond Air Quality Concerns 

Clean Air Council, in partnership with Drexel University and the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice, is conducting a study on the impact of highway traffic on the Port Richmond area. The goal of the air quality study is to understand the health impacts that the Port Richmond community endures due to port operations. Ultimately, we hope to use the results of this research as an initiative for public policies related to emission reduction solutions.
This study is focusing on the impacts of truck and vehicle traffic on schools in Port Richmond. We wish to deploy air quality sensors which were designed and developed by Drexel Engineering students in order to measure levels of particulate matter, an environmental pollutant that has been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Our current project at Port Richmond will focus on one type of environmental pollutant: particulate matter (PM). PM is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are airborne and toxic. Common sources of this pollutant include fuel-burning engines, industrial processes (i.e. power plants), furnaces, incinerators, and tobacco smoke. Particulate Matter exposure has been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses

The first meeting of Port Richmond Air Quality Concerns was: 

Samuels Recreation Center
3539 Gaul Street
Date: June 16th, 2011
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.



Consortium for Community-Based Science 

Clean Air Council is a member of The Consortium for Community-Based Science which aims to develop technical resources for neighborhoods concerned about local environmental hazards. In order to draw attention towards an environmental justice issue, there must be evidence of a health risk. However, evidence is not always easy to come by.

The Consortium for Community-Based Science hosts monthly networking sessions for:
  • Nonprofit environmental-justice advocates;
  • University researchers and other technical professionals with environmental and public-health expertise; and
  • Public- and private-sector sponsors of local environmental research and action.
Held on the last Wednesday of every month, these sessions provide a forum for participants to share information about potential community-based research projects and upcoming grant opportunities as well as a chance to form working partnerships that address specific local environmental issues.
Consortium Members:
Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Environmental History and Policy Program
The Public Health and Environmental Justice Law Clinic and The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Clean Air Council
Previous Project: Air Quality in Hunting Park
Aim: Measure levels of particulate matter and other air pollutants with potential human-health effects in the Hunting Park neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Participants: Hunting Park Stakeholders Group, The Public Health and Environmental Justice Law Clinic, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Clean Air Council, and Drexel University College of Engineering’s EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) Program.


Public hearing regarding the state of Philadelphia’s environment

The Clean Air Council's Director of Environmental Justice Saleem Chapman presented to Southwest Philadelphians on the real-time effects of climate change in an underserved, overpolluted neighborhood.

Reach him at

Discussion Objective