February 13, 2020
The ethane cracker plan being constructed in Potter Township, Beaver County, has raised concerns from residents and environmental advocates. In this episode, GASP talks about the possible air quality implications with Mark Dixon, a local activist and filmmaker, and Matt Mehalik, executive director of the Breathe Project.
November 19, 2019
Disclaimer: The views expressed on On the Air are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.
July 17, 2018
Americans guzzle 391 million gallons of gasoline a day, pumping out greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide, particulate pollution, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and hazardous air toxics. With some of the worst air quality in the country, single-passenger vehicles are a particular problem here in the Pittsburgh region. But there’s another, growing trend in our region–a trend towards “alternative” transportation. In this episode, we take a walk, a climb, a bike ride, and a bus through Pittsburgh’s history right up to the present. Hop on your favorite mode of (non-car!) transportation and join us on the road to a cleaner future. Call to Action: Support alternative transportation! We have the perfect place for you to do it. Check out this year’s final OpenStreets on July 28th. It’s going to wind through the East End and–located somewhere along the way–will be GASP’s table with games and opportunities to get involved. Shownotes: Lisa Valentino: Four years ago, Lisa embarked on a project to walk every street in Pittsburgh. Beginning near her house in Point Breeze and slowly radiating her way outward, Lisa shows us why walking is not only a good way to get around, but a way to gain a better understanding of yourself and the city you live in. Check her out at or follow her on Instagram @lisa.valentino. Laura Zurowski: Pittsburgh has more city steps than any other city in the world, and Laura has committed herself to walking all of them. Follow her project at and follow her on Instagram @mis.steps. To go on your own stair adventure, check out Laura’s field guide and inspiration, Pittsburgh Steps by Bob Regan. Scott Bricker: Co-founder & Executive Director of BikePGH, Scott is committed to getting people out of their cars and into healthy, active modes of transportation through community events like OpenStreetsPGH, education efforts, and advocacy. Laura Wiens: As the Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Laura believes that access to public transit is a human right. Her organization’s goal is to defend and expand our public transit system to benefit residents and transit workers and to provide a sustainable future for all. Ashleigh Deemer: Ashleigh is the Western Pennsylvania Director of PennEnvironment, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization that recently released a report on Electric Buses. *** Disclaimer: The views expressed on On the Air are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.
May 18, 2018
The average person takes over 23,000 breaths every single day, each one filled with oxygen, carbon dioxide–and pollution. Here in Allegheny County, residents have no choice but to breathe the eighth worst air in the nation. For those living nearby major polluters, the air is even worse, and health consequences are compounded by bothersome noise, unsightly smoke, and a constant coating of dust on absolutely everything. In this episode, we’re meeting fenceline communities right where they are to hear stories of environmental injustice. Call to Action: Support environmental nonprofits! Everyone has a right to clean air, and we need you to join the fight. Donate to GASP or check out some of our partners: Clean Air Council – Breathe Project – PennEnvironment – PennFuture – Women for a Healthy Environment – Grounded Technologies – ACCAN – Homewood Children’s Village Shownotes: Dr. Ned Ketyer: Pediatrician, author of the PediaBlog, and one of the founders of the Pediatric Alliance, Dr. Ketyer is passionate about air quality issues. He is a strong supporter of incorporating environmental health into his patient treatment. He also encourages us to decrease our own air pollution emissions and be advocates for our air and climate. Donna Frederick: Donna is a resident of Natrona, a community which is home to two facilities — Harsco Metals and Allegheny Technologies (ATI). ATI has never had a Title V operating permit as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), which means that the Allegheny County Health Department–the group charged with enforcement of our air quality–is violating the CAA. ATI is breaking the law too; they have been violating limits on emissions from the electric arc furnaces they installed in 2002. Donna is an unfortunate witness to these countless violations and an advocate for herself and her community. Melanie Meade: Melanie is a lifetime resident of Clairton and neighbor to the Clairton Coke Works–Allegheny County’s largest single source of air toxics. She is an active community member and a leader of a Group of Ten with the Clean Air Council. Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN): ACCAN is a community group that was founded around issues of air pollution originating from the Shenango Coke Works. The plant closed in January 2016, and ACCAN has since shifted its mission to improving air quality for all of Allegheny County. Members in this episode include Thaddeus Popovich, Angelo Taranto, Michael Bett, Barbara Pace, Karen Grzywinski, and Kenneth Holmes. Jordan Barsky: Audio for ACCAN was provided by Carnegie Mellon Playwright Jordan Barsky and was recorded following his play “The Fox or the Grape.” Learn more about his work at Homewood Children’s Village: Dr. Shannah Tharp Gilliam is the Director of the Office of Research and Evaluation. Natalie Jellison is Homewood Children Village’s Program Coordinator for the Office of Child & Community Health. Jamin Bogi: Jamin is GASP’s Policy and Outreach Coordinator and joined Emily for some of this episode’s hosting. *** Disclaimer: The views expressed on O
April 9, 2018
It’s spring! Tulips are poking their heads out of the melting snow and athletes are lacing up their shoes to get active. But wait–not so fast. April is also the beginning of ozone season! Ozone is a dangerous pollutant, a product of a reaction that is created in the spring heat. So: Welcome to Ozone Season, where we hear from two athletes, a doctor, and an educator about how to cope with ozone in a region where this pollutant is often well above recommended levels. Call to Action: Be a citizen scientist! Join us and Venture Outdoors on Saturday, May 19th from 9 AM until noon for an education bike ride where we investigate our air pollution and its sources. Using bicycle monitors as well as surveys, we’ll collect data from several of Pittsburgh’s riverfront trails to inform about the care and needs of each specific site. We’ll pedal 12 – 15 miles on this outing. Shownotes: Michele Fetting: Michele holds many identities–an environmental nonprofit consultant, a committed athlete, a cancer survivor–but she joins us on the show as the reviver of the Pittsburgh Marathon. Meredith Colaizzi: Meredith is the executive director of Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that empowers young girls through running and mentorship. Dr. Deborah Gentile: A pediatrician and a member of the Division of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at the Pediatric Alliance. Her research on childhood asthma and air pollution has been influential on our understanding of the impact of air pollution in Allegheny County. Chelsea Arnold: GASP’s Education and Events Coordinator, Chelsea joins the show to talk about Athletes United for Healthy Air. *** Disclaimer: The views expressed on On the Air are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.
March 12, 2018
The Nose Knows Air pollution is invisible, and sometimes that makes it a bit difficult to talk about. Still, we encounter air pollution every day. Sometimes our nose can sniff it out and alert us. In “The Nose Knows,” we explore our region through smells and discuss some tools used to talk about and track those foul odors. Call to Action: Sign our petition to end illegal violations of the hydrogen sulfide standard in Allegheny County. Shownotes: Lisa Minetti: Lisa was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and became active in air quality issues before moving away temporarily to Philadelphia and then New York City. Upon her return, she got swept up in a tirade of continued air quality issues and has once again returned to activism. Read an article she wrote here. Mark Dixon’s #Stinkburgh: Mark is an environmental filmmaker who is currently working on a documentary called Inversion: The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh’s Air. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter to receive his #Stinkburgh alerts. Beatrice Dias’ SmellPGH App: Beatrice Dias is the Project Director of CMU’s Create Lab and part of the SmellPGH App team. Learn more and download SmellPGH at Beatrice also mentions Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN), a community group that inspired the creation of the App. Check out ACCAN here. Shelby Brewster: Shelby is a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh. Her smog meringues were inspired by the Center for Genomic Gastronomy. For more on her smog meringues, read her blog post or check out this article. *** Disclaimer: The views expressed on On the Air are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.
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