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CEE 269C EnvEng Seminar: Cesunica Ivey: “Air Pollution Exposure Mitigation: Solutions at the Nexus of Engineering, Policy, and Society”

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Abstract: Eliminating air pollution disparities in the U.S. and beyond is becoming increasingly complex due to the convergence of the national average PM2.5 concentration towards the annual standard despite persistent inequities in exposures across underserved populations. This march toward national compliance provides a sense of strong accomplishment, however, close attention should be paid to regions where secondary particle and ozone pollution is impacted by the rapidly evolving e-commerce industry. The Southern California region is particularly susceptible to adverse environmental impacts due to e-commerce and the propensity for secondary pollution formation made viable by the region’s unique meteorology and topography. Here I discuss three modeling and monitoring efforts that lie at the intersection of e-commerce, air pollution, and environmental justice in Southern California. Low-cost monitoring aids in identifying regional vs. local impacts of traffic-related pollution. Personal monitoring resolves space-time variabilities of individual PM2.5 exposures for community members who are most negatively impacted by the convergence of poor regional air quality with the expansion of e-commerce activity near their homes. Regional modeling using chemical transport modeling and machine learning provides context for how climate change will exacerbate the aforementioned issues. I will conclude by recommending policy-relevant solutions that place consideration and priority on vulnerable populations and ecological preservation.

Bio: Dr. Cesunica Ivey is an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley and the principal investigator of the Air Quality Modeling and Exposure Lab. She earned her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics at the University of Nevada Reno through 2017 and was also a visiting scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in the spring of 2018. She is an emerging leader in the areas of regional air quality modeling and its applications and community-scale air pollution exposure assessment. Her research interests lie at the nexus of air pollution science and engineering and environmental justice. She works in partnership with community organizations across California to prevent over-industrialization of already overburdened neighborhoods. She recently served on a panel at a public hearing for the congressional Environmental Justice for All Act, sponsored by the U.S. Democratic Natural Resources Committee to support the regulation of cumulative burdens in impacted communities. In recognition of her advocacy for frontline communities of the e-commerce supply chain expansion in inland Southern California, she was selected as a member of the American Chemical Society Chemical and Engineering News’ Talented 12 2021 class and a 2022 Women in Science Incentive Prize winner by The Story Exchange.