Grant hopes to measure, help reduce Denver air pollution

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DENVER – The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has received a grant for $100,000 to help measure air quality at public schools.

“As a city, we`re looking to…address the kids…that`s the next generation,” said Michael Ogletree, who’s with the department.

Right now, those children and their families spend more than $30 million dollars to treat asthma.

Some of that is caused from pollution.

In Denver, that pollution comes from a variety of sources, including vehicle emissions from a growing population and parents who idle in cars while waiting to pick children up from school. All of it is made worse by the inversion.

The city hopes to track pollution at schools with new particulate matter sensors.

In the past, the sensors would cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. But thanks to a $100,000 from the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 Mayors Challenge, the city is developing its own sensors that cost just about $500 dollars.

The new sensors — which will be installed in 10 schools this spring — will focus on particulates  known as PM2.5.

“It`s not one particular pollutant, but anything that`s fine particulate matter,” Ogletree said.

The goal is to drastically reduce those levels and make everyone, especially kids, healthier.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment is now trying to win an even bigger grant. This fall, Bloomberg Philanthropies will award four $1 million grants and one $5 million grant.

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