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featured image of airmail dashboard in harris county

Live map of air pollution permits helps communities take action

By Emi Jackson / September 8, 2022

Houston is no stranger to industrial operations, and along with many industrial facilities come a wealth of dangerous pollutants. Carcinogenic byproducts leak from Houston’s many petrochemical facilities and toxic dust clouds the air near concrete batch plants. The health effects of these pollutants burden Houstonians unequally. Time and again, heavily polluting facilities are disproportionately placed…

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plume of smoke from the deer park fire - credit: AP

The story of Kuukibot and air quality in Houston

By Jeff Reichman / August 6, 2021

Poor air quality is a problem for Houston, and it’s been that way for decades. The region accounts for 42% of the country’s base petrochemical capacity. Refining oil is a dirty business. It involves processing chemicals and generating toxic byproducts. A lot of this work takes place around the Houston Ship Channel, which is the…

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Water Risk and Planning: Assessing Water Stress with the Water Risk Atlas

By Sachin Shah / July 28, 2015

Water stress is growing worldwide. Over the past 10 years, water stress is more severe in China, South Asia, and the Western United States.  Study after study proves that this increased stress is attributed to growing demand for freshwater and supply shortages. Shifting global precipitation patterns from climate change are the culprits. The graph below…

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Green Nonprofits: Connecting Houstonians

By Sachin Shah / July 7, 2015

There is no lack of environmental issues in Houston including floods, droughts and periods of poor air quality. Luckily, Houston has engaged citizens that build awareness and stimulate discussion about environmental issues in the region. I sat down with Rachel Powers, the executive director of the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. She was gracious enough to talk to…

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The Case for Open Water Data

By Sachin Shah / May 5, 2015

We collect a lot of water data.  From utility districts to the USGS, there are all sorts of agencies spending millions of dollars to collect information on streamflow, groundwater, subsidence, and soil moisture.  Then they store this data in siloed databases. But these databases don’t speak the same language. Access to water data across states…

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Bayou Greenways 2020: Transforming Parks in Houston

By Sachin Shah / May 27, 2015

The Houston Parks Board is embarking on an exciting capital project: Bayou Greenways 2020. It will significantly expand and enhance Houston’s parks system, creating a continuous network of 150 miles of parks and trails along Houston’s bayous.  I sat down with Roksan Okan-Vick, the executive director of the Houston Parks Board, to talk about Bayou…

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Mapping Environmental Justice: EPA goes Spatial

By Sachin Shah / June 17, 2015

If you have ever wondered where to find Houston’s landfills, look no further than the new environmental justice web tool released by the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month. On June 10, 2015, EPA released EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool.  EJSCREEN uses high resolution maps with demographic and environmental data…

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