SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — People in the Portside community will soon be able to breathe cleaner air with the help of new air purifiers and monitors.
The area consists of Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, and west National City neighborhoods. The neighborhoods have long been impacted by air pollution from nearby shipyards and industrial plants.
After the USS Bonhomme Richard Navy ship fire, residents said the air quality has gotten worse.
"We will be helping hundreds of residents get relief from the harmful effects of air pollution in and around their homes," said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
Sotelo-Solis and other San Diego leaders spoke about the new PAIR Program during a press conference Thursday. The service will fund and install 525 air purifiers in homes that need it the most.
"The ability to fill your lungs with clean air should not be a condition of race, of your income, or where you happen to live," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
The air purifier will allow people to filter all the air inside a medium-sized room in their home up to five times an hour. It's paired with a monitor to track the air quality.
If it gets to a dangerous level, the monitor will turn red and start beeping.
The air purifiers come as a relief for many in the area.
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Nancy Cruz who lives in Logan Heights recalls when the USS Bonhomme Richard Navy ship caught fire in 2020.
"At first I was wondering what was burning. I went outside and I could see clearly the smoke coming in my direction," said Cruz.
The ship burned for several days with Cruz and others breathing in the fumes.
"I started to get headaches and I started to feel symptoms because of it," she said.
People can apply to the PAIR program starting March 1. The program will prioritize those with children, health conditions, and seniors.
Cruz who lives with her mother said she's eager to sign-up.
"She actually was affected by COVID and has had lingering symptoms and her respiratory system has been affected so I definitely see how she can benefit from this program," Cruz said.
Households will also be eligible to receive a one-time monetary stipend of $125 for their participation, which is intended to partially offset the anticipated electricity costs for running the new equipment continuously over a 2-year period.
For more info on the PAIR Program and how to apply, click here.