Tijuana and San Diego authorities install air quality monitor in Otay

The authorities of San Diego and Tijuana joined forces to inaugurate an air quality monitoring station in the city of Tijuana

Karla Ruiz Macfarland, Mayor of Tijuana, was one of the main guests at the inauguration of the Air Quality Monitoring Station in Otay, imposed by Air Pollution Controls District (APCD) of San Diego County, which will have the objective of measuring air quality and issuing bilateral strategies to combat air pollution in both border cities.

The U.S. Consul in Tijuana, Thomas E. Reott, described this event as a historic moment, which was possible thanks to the cooperation of the two countries, and acknowledged the work done in this regard by the municipal president, Karla Patria Ruiz Macfarland; the Mexican ambassador in San Diego, Carlos González Gutiérrez; and the vice president of the San Diego District 1 Oversight Board, Nora Vargas, in a relevant issue for the economy and health of the citizens.

The inauguration of the Monitoring Station was carried out in a hybrid format from the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana and via Zoom, where authorities from the three levels of government from both the United States and Mexico were present, including the elected Mayor Montserrat Caballero Ramírez.

"Air pollution does not respect borders, it crosses and affects everyone," said the consul, who also emphasized that being neighbors means joining efforts to face together the problem of air pollution and improve it, so the launching of the Otay Monitoring Station "illustrates the strength and quality of [their] alliance".

During the event, the director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ben Machol, announced that, as part of the collaborative work that San Diego and Tijuana have carried out to improve air quality, they will soon deliver 50 sensors to be installed in the city, so that citizens have real-time information and can make decisions regarding the activities they perform during the day.

He also pointed out that the Monitoring Station will measure PM2.5 particles, micro and macro, which enter the lungs causing different diseases ranging from cough, lung diseases such as asthma, to stroke. Hence the importance of taking immediate action to reduce air pollution in Tijuana-San Diego because the air we breathe is the same in both cities.

Chanell Fletcher, executive director of the Environmental Justice at California Air Resources Board, highlighted the binational collaboration to achieve these agreements in which Semarnat, Calep, EPA, among other organizations, have participated to establish an air monitoring network on the border "that requires a transboundary approach", which involves work from the local to the federal level.

In her turn, the vice-president of the Oversight Board of District 1 in San Diego, Nora Vargas, pointed out that the installation of the station in Tijuana, marks a milestone between the two countries, whose purpose is to have clean air, since air pollution affects everyone, although not with the same intensity, so with the data that will be generated, citizens will be able to address health issues that do not have borders either.

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