Mecklenburg County Air Quality Airwaves Newsletter


March 10, 2021

“Message from the Air Quality Commission Vice Chair”


 As we move through the first quarter of the new year, one reflects on all the challenges this unprecedented time has brought. For the Air Quality Commission (AQC), monthly meetings were successfully restructured to provide the same integrity through a virtual platform. Proper public notices and important conversations are still able to happen in this new setting.

A recent addition to the AQC’s monthly meeting is a summary of air quality staff comments on rezoning petitions. This new summary allows for an even clearer picture of the future landscape for meaningful conversations about air quality.  

Several members have left the AQC and we thank them for their expertise and careful consideration to improve air quality in the region. Notably, former AQC member, Deandrea Salvador successfully campaigned to represent the 39th district in the NC Senate. We wish her success in her new role.  There was a very successful effort to recruit new members to serve, and we look forward to their attention and input in future meetings. 

Increasingly, the Board of County Commissioners is looking to the AQC for additional input, suggestions, and responses to help solve the air quality issues that no doubt surround this ever-growing area. As your facilities and lives return to a more normal schedule, I encourage you to reconnect with Mecklenburg County Air Quality staff and look to them as a resource.

On behalf of the Air Quality Commission, I encourage you to stay up to date on our monthly meetings through the webpage.  Our mission is to promote the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the ambient air resources of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. And our purpose is to provide citizen and stakeholder input to the BOCC, local municipalities, and MCAQ staff through the review and recommendations of air pollution management policies, long range plans, operations, and budgetary impacts in order to achieve this mission.

Marcus Hackler

Air Quality Commission: A Voice for Mecklenburg County Residents Webinar

Join for an hour discussion with the Air Quality Commission to learn more about their hard work and how they are a resource available to you.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

🕛 12:00 PM EST

To RSVP email: Ivonne.Hernandez@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov

AQC webinar

Supporting Environmental Justice Through Community Engagement

EPA defines Environmental Justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. 

Industrial facilities have an opportunity to support environmental justice efforts through engagement with the surrounding community.  For example, a facility representative can connect with the community by attending monthly neighborhood association meetings to listen to concerns and inform neighbors about proposed changes at the facility.  This invites a positive relationship between the facility and community and gives the community a direct point of contact for any questions and/or concerns that would arise in the future.  An important part of your outreach efforts is addressing concerns that you hear from the community.

The entire MCAQ staff will be receiving a training on Environmental Justice in the upcoming months.  If you have questions about Environmental Justice or how to improve outreach in the community surrounding your facility, please contact MCAQ.

Air Quality Learning Station at First Ward Park


In an effort to make air pollution and air monitoring more visible and relevant to the public, Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) has created a publicly-accessible air quality sensor station to be used for education and outreach purposes. This first-of-its-kind Air Quality Learning Station, or “AQLS,” has several unique features:

  • High-visibility Location: First Ward Park is a high-traffic, centrally-located park. It is in close proximity to facilities like UNC-Charlotte, public schools, library facilities, and light rail stations.  These nearby resources are opportunities to reach new segments of the community who don’t proactively seek out air quality information.
  • Iconic Solar Power: The solar flower is a unique solution that creates visual interest and offsets all of the power used by the AQLS.  It tracks the sun’s trajectory throughout the day, so the AQLS may look different almost every time someone visits the station.  The solar flower elevates the project beyond just a sensor station to an iconic part of the park landscape. 
  • Experienced Planning Team: When developing the AQLS, MCAQ drew on the talent and expertise from a range of sectors including the N.C. Division of Air Quality, local universities, environmental advocates, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system. 
  • Digital Signage and Public Engagement:  MCAQ is currently working on this final phase of the project, creating the “learning” part of the AQLS.  The installation has a digital display that will broadcast educational content and real-time data from the station’s sensors.  MCAQ is also working with educational partners to develop in-person learning activities for when face-to-face gatherings can resume.