UCF study shows best areas near Orlando for air quality

Researchers created interactive map to show neighborhoods with better air quality

ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF researchers are looking to the public for innovative ideas moving forward in the next step of their air quality study.

So far, researchers said areas of Orlando with the highest amount of vehicle emissions also rank the worst for air quality.

In a study, UCF used 60 air quality censor partly designed by UCF students and placed them throughout areas near downtown Orlando.

Resident Logan Lamphere attached one of the sensors to his home in Thornton Park.

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“When there was an opportunity to learn about our air quality, I thought it would be interesting being a citizen scientist,” Lamphere said. “We have a very strong neighborhood with a lot of advocacy, but I know there are some areas that aren’t as well represented, so I’m curious to see how we can help them.”

During a public meeting on Monday, researchers organized air quality results by city commission district. Their researched showed district six, which includes Washington Shores and Holden Heights, had the poorest air quality.

In second place for the poorest air quality was commission district five, which includes Parramore.

UCF Engineering Assistant Professor Haofei Yu said that overall, air is relatively high-quality in Orlando.

“The overall concentration is low, but you do see from neighborhood to neighborhood, you do see differences,” Yu said. “If you are sensitive to pollution, you know such as you have asthma, that may be the issue.”

UCF Public Health Professor Thomas Bryer said researchers’ online interactive map allows people to check near real-time air quality reports closest to them. To check out that map, click here.

“Typically, these kinds of data are not available at the neighborhood level in the way that we’ve made them available through the sensors. The next step of democratizing data is to make sure the residents who have access to it, have the opportunity to use the data to improve their life quality in some way,” Bryer said.

The greatest average air quality was found in Orlando City Commission District 3, which includes College Park and Baldwin Park.

Overall, researchers said Orlando’s better-than-average air quality is partly due to the city’s flat coastal region.

Ideas at Monday night’s meeting included planting more trees and advocating for more mass transit projects.

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About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.