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#CrowdCloudLIVE After each episode's WORLD premiere in April, show host, producer, and people seen on the show participated in post-premiere roundtable discussions. Viewers like you listened in, asked questions, and were able to dive deeper into the power of Citizen Science.

Watch the recorded Facebook Live events now. Discover more about how Citizen Science is revolutionizing the ways we gather, analyze, and utilize the data that fuels scientific research, discovery, and community action.

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Counting Trucks: Clearing the Air
Taking the Right Steps
Q&A with Cassandra Martin

My name is Cassandra Martin, and I'm the Lead Trainer for the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

How did you get involved with the Indicators Project?

I started out with West Oakland Environmental Indicators in '08. I did the truck survey for them, where we sat at different locations in West Oakland. We were counting all the trucks that were coming into each intersection. In an hour to two hours time, we counted over three to four thousand trucks coming into different sections of our neighborhood. From that study we were able to adapt a trucking route. Something that really bothered me about that study was I wore white one day. Not even a few hours after I was out there, I looked down at my socks and they were just as black. You can imagine with us sitting there all day and no mask on, how much we were inhaling, how much of that was going into our bloodstream. The first year that I started doing walks with my DustTrak, I got asthma. It's crazy to me why they continue to put these trains on the track with all these toxins, with schools right by these places where they know they're contaminating people.

I used to do the “Zero Waste Zone” at Art and Soul Festival. I love getting involved in my community and I love giving back to my community. It rewards me. One of the reasons why I started doing this work, after I found out what Margaret and Brian were doing, my oldest son was diagnosed with asthma when he was one year old. All three of my kids have asthma and so do I. Finding out all the things that go on in your neighborhood once you get involved in this type of work, you're able to handle a lot more things. You're able to make plans to protect yourself.

You've got to find out what the problem is. You've got to find out what steps to take in order to take care of that problem. There's always a process and that's what people have to remember. Sometimes it might not get fixed faster than you need it to, but something will eventually be done.

Sometimes it makes you angry. This is one of part of the processes, collecting data. If you don't have consistent data to back up what you're saying, then no one's really going to listen to you. You need to have it right there in black and white to put in front of their faces that this area is contaminated and this is what you're doing to people. You're poisoning kids, you're poisoning people.

What do you hope will come of your involvement?

Well, my hope is to have better trucks. They have a filter that they're putting on some of the old trucks, but what's the purpose of making these people buy expensive filters when they're going to be obsolete in five years? Now, they're making people buy brand new trucks. I'd like to see trucks that don't pollute the air. I like to see trucks that don't poison me and my kids.

How did you get involved in the DustTrak project?

After the truck survey, we had notoriety in the news and online. Brian and Margaret, they're always doing conferences. People had started to hear about some of the things that we were doing. Intel Corporation actually came to us and wanted to work with us on a project around air quality monitoring. It started off with this little yellow machine called a ‘badge’. But it was flopping around too much when we walked, so they went back to work on it. Then they came up with the DustTrak. From that point on, we started hiring people to collect 200 hours of data. My son and his best friend were two of the first walkers. We hired a lot of people, and everybody had a lot of fun. There was exercise involved, plus you're giving back to your community and actually collecting consistent data.

Do you consider yourself a citizen scientist?

I absolutely do, and I'm proud of it. I believe in what I'm doing. I love what I'm doing, and I'm able to collect information on a lot of the toxins that are in the air. I'm learning about toxins. I'm learning how it affects you. I'm learning how it attacks the body. I'm learning how to teach other people to do what I do, so they could do it for themselves, protect themselves, and their families.

Recently, my little brother passed away. Before he passed away, he was having trouble breathing. It turned out to be pneumonia. I could imagine what he was going through, because I've been going through it too. I have times when I get on the BART and my chest just gets so tight, and I don't know if I'm going to stop breathing right then and there. We're having to sit there on these buses and trains with no air circulating. Everyday I'm going to work in the city, and the trains are so packed, they're so dirty. You can see soot everywhere, even on the walls. If these people only knew what they’re breathing in. If they only knew, if they only did what I did, if they only saw what I saw, only learned what I learned, it would be different. It would be a lot different. For me, to be able to make that difference is important.