Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans Launches Countywide Air Quality Network


The Collaborative Effort with JustAir Solutions is Focused on Tracking and Tackling Air Pollution

PR – YAN  

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans is on a mission to use data, transparency, and technology to reduce the devastating impact of poor air quality on Wayne County residents.

The recent “Air Action” days across Southeast Michigan resulting from Canadian Wildfires has demonstrated just how dangerous poor air quality can be for all of us. But for too many residents poor air quality is an every-day occurrence. County Executive Evans wants to fix that. The plan includes installing 100 stationary monitors throughout the county. Monitor locations will be determined in partnership with communities based on the concentration of air pollution and the burden of disease it causes, along high-traffic roadways, and near places where children congregate. The monitors will be attached to lampposts and streetlights collecting critical air pollution data, like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and black carbon. When air quality is poor, children face the greatest risk. So, in addition to the fixed-point air monitors, Wayne County will also offer five hundred mobile air quality monitors to vulnerable residents. These monitors can clip on children’s     backpacks, for example, and seamlessly track air quality data on their way to and from school. Residents will be able to see air quality data on a public-facing dashboard and have the option to receive text alerts directly to cell phones to be notified when air quality is poor.

The county is collaborating with local environmental company JustAir Solutions, which provides air pollution monitoring solutions to cities across the U.S. to bring greater transparency into the disparities of air quality. The joint Project is focused on gathering accurate, comprehensive data on air quality throughout Wayne County’s 43 communities – ultimately giving residents and decision makers critical information needed to create cleaner, safer air.

“Air pollution poses a major health risk globally as the smoke from the Canadian wildfires is showing us. Here in Wayne County, we’re doing something about it,” said Warren C.  Evans, Wayne County Executive.   “We’re taking the steps needed today to prevent the devastating effects tomorrow.”

“This project will allow us to track air quality data, give residents access to information they need to stay safe, and help us better understand the impact of poor air quality on asthma,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Wayne County Health Director. “This data will arm both policymakers and the public with critical information needed to implement environmental justice solutions to keep Wayne County residents safe,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Director Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services.

With better collaboration, monitoring, and data, Wayne County can help improve the region’s air quality and improve outcomes for all residents.

“It’s a privilege to be working alongside Wayne County leaders who are taking action to protect communities,” said Darren Riley, Co-founder, and CEO of JustAir. “Poor air quality impacts everyone, but people with asthma and other health ailments are impacted the most. Wayne County residents have some of the highest rates of asthma in the state and Detroiters are already going to the emergency room for asthma attacks at a rate four times greater than Michigan residents as a whole. Our data and alert system can literally save lives and, long-term, this data will inform policy makers’ decision-making to prevent air pollution and reduce the impact of poor air quality on residents.”

The Wayne County Community Air Quality Project is expected to take place over three years, from August 2023 through December 2026.  It’s a three-phase project:

  • Research, engagement, and planning will take place through the rest of this year
  • Monitor deployment and project execution will begin in early 2024
  • Ongoing monitoring and reporting will occur through December of 2026


“Far too many of our residents have had to breathe the fumes from incinerators, factories, and idling trucks. Our kids suffer more from asthma than in almost any other part of Michigan. Meanwhile, the corporations that are polluting our air have been applying for permit after permit to increase the level of their emissions. That environmental injustice has got to stop,” said Evans.