Donna Almendrala, Brittany Collins, Alex Jasiulek, Olivia Lustro, Leon Ko, and Maggie Li
In an attempt to investigate air quality in and around Lake Merritt Park and National Wildlife Refuge in downtown Oakland, California, we measured concentrations of particulate matter, carbon dioxide, ozone, and oxygen in air samples as well as wind speed and direction collected from a variety of locations. Prior to beginning our investigation we hypothesized: that the region of the park near major roads would have the poorest air quality while area near dense vegetation and removed from high traffic roads would have the best air quality. Over a four week period, we sampled air in seven different locations selected on the bases of general observation and assumption on -how vegetations and human activities interact to effect air quality around the Lake Merritt Park. We sampled every day, between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m., for about 2 weeks. We hypothesized that the floodgates on the south end of the lake would have the poorest air quality because it is surrounded by busy, major roads and is lacking in plant life; we also hypothesized that the Rotary Nature Center, located on the northeast bend of the lake, would have the highest air quality because it is surrounded by vegetation and located far away from major roads. Preliminary results of our investigation indicate that Location #7 about 200m north of the Rotary Nature Center had the highest levels of carbon dioxide, 497.5 ppm. High levels indicate poorer quality air possibly due to the exhaust from heavy traffic. Location # 5 on east side of the lake showed the lowest levels of carbon dioxide, 345.6 ppm. The low level of CO2 indicates better air quality possibly due to the lack of car pollution and a greater density of plant life and vegetation. Our particulate data showed that the Rotary Nature Center had the highest concentration of particulate matter which is a result of the excess animal dander from the heavy population of wild birds. Overall, our data showed a trend that the air quality over the water was better than that over land, shown by higher concentrations of oxygen and lower concentrations of carbon dioxide over the water compared to land. Yet, the water had the highest concentration of particulate matter which indicates that wind speed and direction is a factor in the distribution of particulate matter. This preliminary study lead us to conclude that air quality around Lake Merritt is primarily effected by cars traffic and other human activities.
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