Beto Lugo-Martinez moved to Kansas City from California a few years ago; he knew he couldn’t leave his years of environmental justice advocacy in the rearview mirror. Seeing the largely Hispanic residents in Wyandotte County – the poorest in the state – with a 20-year shorter life expectancy and higher rates of lung and heart disease, Lugo-Martinez was compelled to join.
CleanAirNow (CAN). He knew from experience that when trusted community members work with advocacy partners, they are all more powerful.
CleanAirNow was formed in 2012 as the Diesel Health Project to monitor air pollution in an area overburdened with multiple sources of pollution. Upwards of 2,000 railcars per day come through the Southwest Kansas City area, and the group’s initial testing confirmed their concerns: high levels of fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and black carbon exposure due to incomplete diesel fuel combustion.