Inaugural Clean Air Dash and Festival celebrates Pittsburgh's healthy turnaround
Anyone with a hint of knowledge about Western Pennsylvania's past knows one thing for sure: The air around here was downright dirty.
On Saturday, Pittsburgh's progress in reducing air pollution was celebrated in South Side's Riverfront Park with the inaugural Clean Air Dash and Festival featuring a 5K race, booths promoting clean energy and healthy lifestyles and activities including music, yoga demonstrations and a climbing wall.
Group Against Smog and Pollution, or GASP, hosted the daylong event.
Carnegie Mellon University used the festival to debut a tool for community outreach and education — a mobile air quality laboratory in a van outfitted with high-tech gear to monitor and collect air pollution data anywhere in the region.
“In terms of air pollution, we've certainly come a long way in Pittsburgh since the 1970s,” said Albert Presto, an assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at CMU who demonstrated the equipment. “But the fact is, we still regularly violate federal air-quality standards in this region, so there is still a great need to address these problems.”
Presto noted that test equipment in the mobile lab, which was stationed under the Birmingham Bridge, was picking up high levels of black carbon, or soot, from the diesel vehicles traveling above even though there was no noticeable pollution.
Rachel Filippini, executive director of GASP, said the amount of community and business support for the inaugural event was exciting.
“People recognize that air quality is still a priority issue in Pittsburgh and want to be a part of the solution,” she said.
One of the businesses in attendance was ZeroFossil Energy Outfitters of Munhall, which set up a series of solar-powered battery stacks called “juice boxes” to run the equipment for the disc jockey at the festival.
“We love these type events because it gives us the opportunity to show people that there are alternative energy sources available to them,” said Chris Corbran, a technician with the company. The company moves all of its equipment in vehicles powered by vegetable oil that typically is reclaimed from restaurant fryers.
Mac Howison, 40, of Swissvale took first place in the race's 40- to 49-year-old men's division. Nearly 600 runners entered.
“It's great to do something healthy and celebratory like a run that uses the riverfront trails to highlight something so important,” he said.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- UPMC researcher who died of cyanide poisoning committed suicide
- Ambridge fire brought quickly under control
- Nation sick of Obama blunders, Perry tells state Republicans
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- Conductor Krzysztof Urbanski shines in Heinz Hall debut
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Route 19 accident in Mt. Lebanon injures five people
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- Dungy, Greene represent more Steelers ties in hall of fame voting