The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.
Date of Award
Department or Program Affiliation
Master of Arts (MA)
Abel, Troy D.
Salazar, Debra J.
Toxic air pollution in the United States has been regulated through the Clean Air Act (CAA) since the 1970’s. Yet, a growing body of research suggests that the CAA’s air pollution management system has several blind spots. The CAA’s inability to identify and remedy pollution hot spots across the country. These hot spots are areas where air pollution exists but are often entirely overlooked because of the extreme hyperlocal scale and the current methods for identifying areas of concern outlined in the CAA for the Environmental Protection Agency. Researchers find that these hot spots are more prevalent in minority and low-income communities.
Because of the expense to install and operate traditional stationary air monitors, it is impossible to place a monitoring site in every community. My research explores a potential alternative to the traditional stationary air monitoring system set up in the CAA that may identify pockets of elevated toxic pollution. Using Orthotrichum lyellii as a bioindicator measuring six toxic pollutants, I created maps of potential toxic metal pollution hotspots in the Duwamish River Valley (DRV). This area includes the neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park separated by the Duwamish River. This industrialized and heavily polluted area in South Seattle was revealed to ultimately contain hot spots of toxic air pollution. This project relied on data collected by community youths. I then applied spatial mapping to illuminate the Duwamish River Valley’s pollution disparities. Through this sort of mapping, it is possible not only to locate potential polluters in an area but to also empower communities to take action and improve the health and safety of the air they breathe.
CAA, Clean air act, moss, Duwamish River Valley, toxic air pollution, air pollution, biomonitor, community science, South Seattle
Western Washington University
Subjects – Names (LCNAF)
United States. Clean Air Act
Subject – LCSH
Orthotrichales--Washington (State)--Duwamish River Valley; Air--Pollution--Washington (State)--Duwamish River Valley; Environmental monitoring--Washington (State)--Duwamish River Valley; Environmental justice--Washington (State)--Duwamish River Valley
Duwamish River Valley (Wash.)
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Hayes, Allison, "Seeing Environmental Injustice Through Moss-Colored Glasses: Neighborhood Monitoring of Toxic Metal Air Pollution Disparities with Orthotrichum lyellii" (2023). WWU Graduate School Collection. 1254.